Guidance for Unpaid Carer Advocacy in Scotland

This document, endorsed by Scottish Government and COSLA provides guidance for advocacy professionals who are interested in or are currently undertaking advocacy work with unpaid carers in Scotland.

Appendix 1: Carers advocacy guidance glossary

Carers advocacy guidance glossary


The extent to which a service can be obtained by an individual in terms of local proximity, cultural competence and eligibility.

Advocacy Partner

The person who uses advocacy. Some advocacy organsiations use the term 'client' or 'service user'.


An advocate helps people express their views and make informed decisions. An advocate helps people to find out information, explore options and decide for themselves what they want. Advocates can be a voice for the person and encourage them to speak out for themselves. There are different kinds of advocacy, though they all share things in common. Advocates will never tell people what to do, or allow their own opinions to affect the support they provide. All advocacy tries to increase confidence and assertiveness so that people can start speaking out for themselves. Advocates are as free from conflicts of interest as possible.


Where a person is paired up with a trained worker or volunteer to offer company or social interaction and the development of life-skills.


The concept in advocacy that provides clarity on the role and activities of an advocate, to ensure that objectives are clear and the advocate's loyalty is wholly with the person they are advocating for.

Care and support work

Practical support to someone to live independently, including personal care, independent living skills, household support and social support.


A carer is someone of any age who supports a family member, friend or neighbour who is ill, frail or disabled.

Carer's Assessment

A carer's assessment is a plan prepared by a responsible local authority setting out an adult carer's identified outcomes and needs and the support to be provided to the carer to meet those needs, where applicable. Some areas have different names for a carer's assessment, such as a carer's journey or carer support plan. The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 which was passed by Parliament on February 4 2016 will extend the availability of carer's assessments and change the name to an adult carer support plan. Commencement of the Act's provisions will begin 2017-18.

Carers Rights

Rights that carers have in law for example the right to ask to be assessed as a regular and substantial carer, to ask for flexible working. For more information, contact Carers Scotland


A term used to describe when a local authority or health board 'buy' a service to be provided in the local area. There is specific guidance for commissioning advocacy services

Condition-specific organisation

An organisation, usually a charity or trust or varying sizes set up to support individuals who have a particular health condition. Alzheimer Scotland, Parkinson's Scotland, MS Scotland are all examples.


The principle where discussions between two or more people are not disclosed to anyone else, in order that trust in the relationship is maintained. There may be exceptions where the advocate becomes aware that harm may come to the advocacy partner or someone else.

Conflict of interest

This is anything that could get in the way of an advocate being able to fully represent the person they are advocating for. For example, it would not be appropriate for an advocate volunteering for a mental health organisation to also work in the local psychiatric hospital because this would affect their ability to be on the side of the person. It would also affect their relationships with hospital staff. Other conflicts of interest could include relationships as well as financial investments.


Legally binding agreement between two organisations that specifies a service one has pledged to provide to another.


Where individuals or service users are asked for their views on the development of policy or legislation that affects them. Consultation period usually is time-limited


(Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) is a collective voice of local authorities in Scotland and negotiates with the Scottish Government on behalf of its members.


Process where by an individual, couples or families can discuss problems and difficult emotions in a confidential and trusting environment with a trained counsellor, who will help them understand their feelings and move forwards.

Cultural competence

The extent to which a service meets the cultural needs of those from minority ethnic groups and specific communities. These can include needs around language and religious observance and cultural traditions.

Duty of care

The principle in social care that says that a social worker, or any other local authority representative, always has to act in the best interest of the person they are supporting, i.e. in a way that keeps them safe.

Eligibility criteria

Rules that are applied to decide who can access a service and who cannot. For advocacy, these can be on factors such as the 'type' of disability of the cared-for person and where the person lives.

This definition is distinct from eligibility criteria used by health and social services to determine the allocation of services to a service user.

Equal partners

The Carers Strategy 2010 - 2015 recognises that carers are "equal partners in care" (Para 2.11) alongside professionals. This is in the sense that their expertise is as valid as other professionals who are involved in the care of someone.

Equality of access

The extent to which a service is accessible in practical ways to all the users who may be eligible to use a service, regardless of age, gender, ethnic group, location and other factors.

Financial Guardian

A Guardian appointed by the court with property and/or financial powers to act or make decisions on behalf of another adult.

Independent Advocacy Guide for Commissioners

A document produced by the Scottish Government which sets out how local authorities and health boards purchase advocacy services that are good quality and fit for purpose.

Kings Fund

An charity that seeks to improve health and healthcare in England that carries out research and analysis on health issues

Local Authority

A local organisation funded by national and local taxation to provide services to its residents, including social care, education and housing services.

Local Strategic Advocacy Plan

A local authority plan of the advocacy services that are to be made available and to whom in their area.


Where two parties that are in disagreement with each other come together voluntarily with a mediator - who is independent of either party - to try and resolve the problem in practical ways.


When a person with certain knowledge and experiences offers support to someone else who is going through a comparable experience.

Natural Justice

This comes from the legal concept for a person to receive a fair hearing.


A Process whereby two parties, usually with different aims and viewpoints work out a given course of action. Negotiation usually involves compromise and 'give and take'.

NHS Board/Health Board

An NHS organisation that is responsible for providing health services in a specific area, including GP services, hospital services and mental health services.

Power of Attorney

A legal power an individual has to delegate decisions on their welfare and or finance to someone else, when the individual is not able to make decisions for themselves.

Prioritisation criteria

The process by which an organisation decides the order in which they offer a service to a group of individuals on a waiting list. This is usually around need, how long the person has been on the waiting list and the availability of workers.


Trained individuals who are paid to provide specific expertise and services to service users, e.g. doctors, nurses, social workers, OTs, psychiatrists, teachers. Commonly employed by large organisations.

Referral protocols

The internal process of an organisation used to assess whether an individual is suitable to access their service, or whether signposting on to another service is appropriate.


Email: Peggy Winford

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