What is an Advocate?
An Advocate is an independent person who can support you through the assessment process to help and support you to feel able to express your needs fully and ensure that you are fully listened to and understood.
Service Users sometimes need help to identify their needs and secure the support they require. This may mean developing self-advocacy skills, or using another person to act as an advocate in a formal or informal capacity.
The role of an independent advocacy service is very important in any process for people accessing statutory authority services to enable a person to have support and a voice about the services appropriate to them. It is therefore an important role in any process. Advocacy services should be operationally independent of the statutory services regardless of the funding source in order to operate without constraints to any department and to be truly representative of the person.
Advocacy services therefore are impartial and should provide a good support for service Users who want to take the lead in developing a Person Centred Planning approach within a social care package. Facilitators could be sought from Advocacy and User-led organisations, as the values of person centred working are central to their way of working.
An advocacy service is confidential, which means that what the person says will not be repeated without their agreement, unless it is something that might hurt them or someone else. In this situation, the advocacy worker should discuss with the Service User who needs to be told and will always make sure that they are kept informed.
All Service Users should have access to an advocacy service that should:
- Offer information and advice about people’s rights
- Listen to and help sort out any problems or complaints people may have
- Help people to have a say in decisions which affect them
Self-advocacy groups can play an important role in supporting disabled people to develop the skills and confidence to take a leading role in the Direct Payment process.
Advocacy at Wiltshire CIL
At Wiltshire CIL we value the importance of independent advocacy so that people can be sure of a quality service. Therefore, we have developed a partnership arrangement with SWAN Advocacy who are contracted by Wiltshire Council to provide advocacy across the County. We have provided training for the SWAN Advocates on Direct Payments, Personalisation and Disability Equality Training so as to enable them to support people with any issues when going through the Direct Payment process or review stage.
Wiltshire CIL will buy in the Advocates time to work with people to ensure they are listened to and treated fairly. If you feel you need an independent advocates please contact us at Wiltshire CIL where we will be happy to supply you with the information you need and arrange for a SWAN Advocate to work with you to support you through the process.