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
2. Different Models of Advocacy

52 page PDF

512.3 kB

2. Different Models of Advocacy

2.1 The aim of all models of advocacy is to help individuals gain increased confidence and assertiveness so that, where possible, they will feel able to self-advocate when the need arises. The different models are:

2.1.1 One to one or individual advocacy This includes professional or issue based advocacy. It can be provided by both paid and unpaid advocates. An advocate supports an individual to represent their own interests or represents the views of an individual if the person is unable to do this themselves. They provide support on specific issues and provide information but not advice. This support can be short or long term. Another model of one to one advocacy is citizen advocacy. Citizen advocacy happens when ordinary citizens are encouraged to become involved with a person who might need support in their communities. The citizen advocate is not paid and not motivated by personal gain. The relationship between the citizen advocate and their advocacy partner is on a one-to-one and is normally but not always on a long term basis. It is based on trust between the partner and the advocate and is supported but not influenced by the advocacy organisation. The advocate supports their partner using their natural skills and talents rather than being trained in the role although they should have access to relevant training where appropriate. Peer advocacy is also individual advocacy. Peer advocates share significant life experiences with the advocacy partner. The peer advocate and their advocacy partner may share age, gender, ethnicity, diagnosis or issues. Peer advocates use their own experiences to understand and have empathy with their advocacy partner. Peer advocacy works to increase self-awareness, confidence and assertiveness so that the individual can speak out for themselves, lessening the imbalance of power between the advocate and their advocacy partner.

2.1.2 Group or Collective advocacy Collective Advocacy enables a peer group of people, as well as a wider community with shared interests, to represent their views, preferences and experiences. A collective voice can help reduce an individual's sense of isolation when raising a difficult issue. A collective voice can be stronger than that of individuals when campaigning and can help policy makers, strategic planners and service providers know what is working well, where gaps are and how best to target resources. Being part of a collective advocacy group can help to reduce an individual's sense of isolation when raising a difficult issue. Groups can benefit from the support of resources and skilled help from an independent advocacy organisation.

2.1.3 Non-instructed Advocacy Most one to one advocacy is instructed however there are occasions when non instructed advocacy may be required. 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. The advocate will take time to get to know the person and relatives/friends and look for alternative methods of communication which will enable the person to express their views and wishes to ensure their rights are upheld. The advocate will challenge service providers in order to promote a person-centred independent approach.

Advocacy NOW!

In the future

when it's fashionable to listen

Everyone will have a voice -

the disadvantaged, disillusioned

All will have a voice

Not just to say what's wrong

or could be better,

but to celebrate what's good right now

In the future

people won't be threatened by dissent.

We'll welcome opposition to the status quo

In the future

when all voices speak as one,

we'll challenge the hegemony.

We'll seek the truth that speaks its name

regardless of authority or strength in numbers

In the future

we'll drown out the volume,

separate the essence from the noise

In the present

we'll keep fighting for a future

in which ALL shall have a voice

(Jo McFarlane, AWOL, 2013)


Email: Sandra Falconer,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road