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.
Advocates will never tell people what to do, or allow their own opinions to affect the support they provide.
Independent advocates are as free from conflicts of interest, as possible.
The process of standing alongside another, speaking on behalf of another and encouraging the person to speak up for themselves. Advocacy can help address the imbalance of power in society and stand up to injustice. It safeguards rights, and helps people safeguard their own rights. There are different kinds of advocacy, though they all share things in common. All advocacy tries to increase confidence and assertiveness so that people can start speaking out for themselves.
The person who uses advocacy. Some advocacy organisations use the term 'client' or 'service user'.
Usually representatives from the Local Authority or Health Board who fund advocacy.
Conflict of interest
Anything that could get in the way of an advocate being completely loyal to their advocacy partner. For example, it would not be appropriate for an advocate volunteering for a mental health advocacy organisation to also work in the local psychiatric hospital, because this would affect their ability to be on the side of the advocacy partner. It would also affect their relationships with hospital staff. Other conflicts of interest could include relationships as well as financial investments.
The agreement, usually between Local Authority or NHS Boards and the advocacy organisation, which outlines how much funding the organisation receives, which geographical areas will be covered, who the advocacy is for and how long the funding is for. (Also see Service Level Agreement).
A person who is considered to be neutral and able to mediate between two or more parties
Non-instructed advocacy happens when a person who needs an independent advocate cannot tell the advocate what they want. This may be because the person has complex communication needs or has a long‑term illness or disability that prevents them from forming or clearly stating their wishes/desires. This usually takes place with people who have dementia or profound and/or severe learning difficulties.
Service Level Agreement
The agreement, usually between the Local Authority or NHS Boards and the advocacy organisation, which outlines how much funding they receive, which geographical areas will be covered, who the advocacy is for and how long the funding is for.
A person or organisation involved in giving support or care services to an individual.
The person who uses advocacy. Some advocacy organisations use the term 'client' or 'advocacy partner'.
Email: Sandra Falconer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House