National Care Service - making sure your voice is heard: seldom heard voices co-design findings - easy read

We have been working with organisations who support people from groups and communities who often have barriers to engaging with government. We wanted to engage with these groups as they have not been as involved as other groups in our previous co-design work.

What people told us about independent advocacy

1. Independent advocacy services should understand challenges faced by different groups. They should give them special support.

Independent advocacy can help people to:

  • understand their rights
  • have their voices heard
  • have a say in decisions about their care

Independent advocates are separate from the organisations that give you social care or community health support. This means that their only job is to work with you and help you.

We heard that different groups have different problems when using social care services. They might need help to use advocacy services.

People said it was important to have an independent advocate who shared and understood their experiences.

Some people felt there is a need for special training about domestic abuse in services. This would mean better support could be offered.

How we will use this

We will think about how to help people access independent advocacy across Scotland.

We will think about how to give people better information so they can understand the different types of independent advocacy.

2. A professional advocate could be a helpful support for people, including support when making a complaint.

Some people said they might want an independent advocate to support them with complaints. People would want the independent advocates to know about equalities law and people’s rights.

Independent advocates should know about the community they are supporting. People said an independent advocate should know about the complaints system.

People said that good advocacy would give people more confidence when accessing support. It would make sure their voices are heard and needs are met.

Some people said making a complaint on your own without support can be very stressful.

How we will use this

We will think about how to give people better information on how independent advocacy can support them.

We will think about information and guidance for independent advocates. This will help them support people when making a complaint.

3. People might want support from advocacy services to help them with a wide range of issues.

People said independent advocates should understand people’s rights and the challenges they might face. People should be told what an independent advocate can and cannot do.

People said it can bring up difficult feelings when they use advocacy services.

Some people might want an independent advocate to work with both them and services to sort out issues. However this is not something they can do.

Some people feel alone when getting care and support. They said it can be difficult. They would like someone to support them through that.

Some people said it was difficult to access and manage different services to receive support.

How we will use this

We will look at how to make sure accessible information on independent advocacy is made available. This will help them know what an independent advocate can and cannot do.

We will also work with people to understand where there is not enough independent advocacy support.

4. There is not enough support and advocacy for unpaid carers.

Unpaid carers said they do not get enough support. This makes them exhausted and makes it harder to care for loved ones properly.

People who get care can feel like a problem for their carer. They feel they need to find extra support for themselves.

Some people in the Gypsy and Traveller community did not know about the support available for unpaid carers.

Many people said their families are expected to support each other in their communities. They do not get support from outside their community.

Some people did not know they are an unpaid carer. They did not know they were able to get support.

How we will use this

We will think about independent advocacy for unpaid carers. We will also look at why there is not enough independent advocacy support for unpaid carers.



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