Publication - Consultation paper

Social security advocacy service standards: consultation

Published: 11 Jul 2019

The purpose of this consultation is to gather views on the draft social security advocacy service standards.

Contents
Social security advocacy service standards: consultation
Section 2: Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 Advocacy Service Standards

Section 2: Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 Advocacy Service Standards

Introduction to Standards

The service standards apply to individual instructed advocacy support (ie where the client can tell the advocacy worker their wishes) provided to disabled people who need an advocacy worker's support to engage with the Scottish social security system. Individuals are entitled to receive advocacy support even if they have a guardian or supporter.

Advocacy support for Scottish social security is provided independently of Scottish Ministers. The Scottish Government will provide funding for services but will not be directly involved with day-to-day operation or the handling of individual cases. Advocacy support may be provided by stand-alone advocacy organisations or by other organisations which offer a range of services including advocacy.

The Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 does not define disability. It is for individuals to self-identify whether they have a disability and that as a result of that disability they need the help of an advocacy worker.

Advocacy support will be available throughout the whole of the process for seeking assistance - from application to assessments to request for redetermination and to appeal. Advice and support to complete applications can be received from local advice and information services and Social Security Scotland local delivery staff.

The service standards are laid out with an over-arching principle and then standards below these which the advocacy worker or service would be expected to meet and demonstrate.

The standards must be introduced under regulations and a draft of these is at Annex A. The Act allows for the advocacy service standards, or a part of them, to be set by reference to another document. It is our intention to draft the regulations in this way with the standards being published separately on the day the regulations are laid.

The Draft Standards

Definition of Advocacy

You are entitled to the support of an advocacy worker if you have a disability and, because of your disability, you need help with the Scottish social security system.

Your advocacy worker will help you:

  • be heard and understood;
  • know, understand and secure your rights under the Scottish social security system;
  • ask questions and get information;
  • express your views and wishes and represent your own interests; and
  • be fully involved and make informed decisions.

Your advocacy worker will not provide advice.

Your advocacy worker will only speak for you when you instruct them to or when you have a significant difficulty putting your views across.

Your advocacy worker will help you determine and promote your views and will not give their own view.

Your advocacy worker may need to consult or get information from other parties in order to help you with your situation and help you put your views across. Your advocacy worker will ask for your permission first.

Q Do you agree with this definition of advocacy?

Q Is anything missing from this definition and, if so, what?

Principle – Independence

Advocacy support will not be provided directly by Scottish Ministers but will be provided by other organisations.

Your advocacy worker will support your social security advocacy needs and work for and on your behalf.

Advocacy services will be as free from conflicts of interest as possible.

Your advocacy worker will only provide you with advocacy support.

If the organisation provides a range of services, advocacy support will be delivered separately from these.

Advocacy records will be kept separately from other records.

Q Do you agree with the principle of "independence"?

Q Do you agree with the standards?

Q Is anything missing from the standards and, if so, what?

Principle – Person Centred

Your advocacy worker is on your side, puts you first and is directed by your needs, views and wishes.

Your advocacy worker will obtain your formal agreement before acting on your behalf.

You are trusted and valued and will be treated with dignity, fairness and respect.

You will be kept informed of and involved in all aspects of the advocacy process.

Your advocacy worker will not judge you or discriminate against you.

Your advocacy worker will base their actions on your desired outcomes.

Q Do you agree with the principle of "person centred"?

Q Do you agree with the standards?

Q Is anything missing from the standards and, if so, what?

Principle – Accessible

Advocacy services and workers will be respectful of your needs, views, experiences and protected characteristics.

Advocacy services and workers will communicate through the methods and forms you need and prefer.

Advocacy workers will meet you at a place which suits you and where you can discuss sensitive and personal matters.

Advocacy services will provide support if you contact them personally or if you are referred by someone else. This can be done in writing, by phone or in person.

Advocacy services and workers must be aware of and meet confidentiality requirements.

If an organisation provides advocacy and other services, the advocacy service must not share information with those other services without your permission.

If you tell your advocacy worker that you may be at risk of harm or that you want to harm yourself or someone else they will discuss this with you but may need to share this information with others without your consent.

Your advocacy worker will work within the policies and procedures of their service, including but not limited to equality, staffing, data management.

Q Do you agree with the principle of "accessible"?

Q Do you agree with the standards?

Q Is anything missing from the standards and, if so, what?

Principle –Trained

Advocacy workers will have detailed knowledge of the Scottish social security system and advocacy.

Advocacy workers will understand your needs and any barriers you face.

Advocacy workers will be able to meet your needs including any communication needs.

Advocacy workers will be trained and continue to develop their knowledge, skills and experience.

Advocacy workers will get regular support and supervision.

Advocacy services and workers will be aware of and meet their duties and responsibilities under relevant human rights and equality legislation.

Q Do you agree with the principle of "trained"?

Q Do you agree with the standards?

Q Is anything missing from the standards and, if so, what?

Principle - Quality Assurance

Advocacy workers will keep accurate and up to date written records of action taken, progress made and outcomes achieved.

Advocacy services will have systems for receiving, addressing and monitoring feedback and complaints and you will be told about these.

Feedback and complaints forms will be available in accessible formats, without having to be requested.

Advocacy services will take all feedback and complaints seriously and will respond promptly.

Advocacy services will carry out self-evaluations and provide service updates, including complaints, to funding bodies as part of routine reporting.

Q Do you agree with the principle of "quality assurance"?

Q Do you agree with the standards?

Q Is anything missing from the standards and, if so, what?


Contact

Email: socialsecurityadvocacy@gov.scot