Publication - Advice and guidance

Independent advocacy: guide for commissioners

Published: 20 Dec 2013

Advice for commissioners on the provision of advocacy services under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.

52 page PDF

512.3 kB

52 page PDF

512.3 kB

Independent advocacy: guide for commissioners
9. Developing the Strategic Advocacy Plan

52 page PDF

512.3 kB

9. Developing the Strategic Advocacy Plan

9.1 A Strategic Advocacy Plan should be developed based on the information gathered from a needs assessment, scoping exercises and consultations. In relation to this NHS boards should bear in mind that responsibility for health care for prisoners transferred to NHSScotland in November 2011 and the needs assessment should take this into account. See Section 10 for advice on Commissioning of Advocacy Services.

9.2 The Strategic Advocacy Plan should be Equality Impact Assessed ( EQIA) and signed off by senior management in both the NHS Board and corresponding Local Authorities. The Plan should clearly explain what independent advocacy is and outline the development and investment in advocacy over a minimum three-year period. The Plan may also cover other aspects of advocacy provision being commissioned in your area.

9.3 The NHS Reform (Scotland) Act 2004 placed a duty on all NHS Boards to involve the public ( i.e. patients, carers or members of the public from a range of groups' perspectives) in the planning and design of health care services and policies. The Charter for Patients' Rights and Responsibilities published in October 2012 reaffirms the patients right to be involved, directly or through representatives in the planning, design and provision of services in their area. NHS Boards therefore need to ensure that people have a say in decisions not only in relation to their own care and but also in the development of local health services. The Participation Standard produced by the Scottish Health Council is a way of measuring how well NHS Boards do this. One of the criteria within the Standard Section 1, which relates to Patient Focus includes "Independent advocacy services are provided and developed in partnership with other agencies and the people who need them."

Consultation and Involvement

We asked them to contribute

and they cared enough

to tell us what they thought.

They sought the simplest things:

a place to be that held their dignity,

support of self and family,

fulfilling things to do,

respect and being listened to.

We took their big ideas on board,

took small steps forward to achieve

what seemed impossible to us.

Budget cuts, practical logistics,

cultural resistance,

all the barriers we faced along the way.

And then one day,

a revolution happened in our thinking:

let's take the consultation further,

ask the people how they think we can

achieve the changes that they want to see.

The answer came like manna from the gods.They said:

Involve us, Don't just listen.

Let us be the architects, the builders

and the artists of our vision.

Give us tools, resources,

and the hope to realise our ambition.

Don't just talk to us,

walk with us the road that leads to change"

We found that soon

the labels service users and providers

were redundant.

We were partners now,

working in pursuit of common goals.

(Jo McFarlane, AWOL, 2013)


Email: Sandra Falconer,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road