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.

Independent advocacy: guide for commissioners
Appendix 1

Appendix 1

Principles and Standards for Independent Advocacy Reflecting Commissioners' Statutory Responsibility [2]

Principle 1

Independent advocacy puts the people who use it first.

Standard 1.1 - Independent advocacy is directed by the needs, interests, views and wishes of the people who use it

Standard 1.2 - Independent advocacy helps people to have control over their lives and to be fully involved in decisions which affect them.

Standard 1.3 - Independent advocacy tries to make sure that people's rights are protected

Standard 1.4 - Independent advocacy values the people who use it and always treats people with dignity and respect.

Principle 2

Independent advocacy is accountable.

Standard 2.1 - Independent advocacy is accountable to the people who use it

Standard 2.2 - Independent advocacy is accountable under the law

Standard 2.3 - Independent advocacy is effectively managed.

Principle 3

Independent advocacy is as free as it can be from conflicts of interest.

Standard 3.1 - Independent advocacy providers (individuals or organisations) cannot be involved in the delivery of welfare or care services or in the provision of other services to the individual for which it is providing advocacy.

Standard 3.2 -Independent advocacy should be provided by an organisation whose sole role is independent advocacy or whose other tasks either complement, or do not conflict with, the provision of independent advocacy.

Standard 3.3 - Independent advocacy looks out for and minimizes conflicts of interest

Principle 4

Independent advocacy is accessible.

Standard 4.1- Independent advocacy reaches out to the widest possible range of people, regardless of ability or life circumstances.

These principles and standards are designed to support commissioners and advocates in ensuring the provision of high quality advocacy which meets the needs of advocacy partners.

Whilst the principles and standards focus on the delivery of independent advocacy under the Mental health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, much of what they say reflects good practice in relation to advocacy more generally. Where individuals and organisations are involved in the delivery of non-independent advocacy, they may not be in a position to fully satisfy all of the standards but should seek to apply the four principles as far as possible. It is vital that anyone who might benefit from using an advocate feels confident about making that contact without any real or perceived worries about conflicts of loyalty on the part of the advocate.


Email: Sandra Falconer,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road