Services need Advocacy!

In addition to the benefits of advocacy for vulnerable people, advocacy has clear advantages for services and commissioners.

Better outcomes

Advocacy makes a difference to what happens to people. It leads to better decisions about treatment and services.

Information and feedback

Advocacy schemes can provide an alternative source of constructive information and feedback about how well services are meeting the needs of vulnerable people, and inform future needs and priorities while protecting the confidentiality of individuals. This can assist the systems of governance within the NHS, Local Authority, Voluntary and private agencies.

Added value

A relatively small investment in independent advocacy can yield significant results. Advocacy agencies can engage members of the public. They empower people who are being ignored, giving people the support and information they need to make their own decisions and take more control of their own life.

Advocacy promotes avoiding dependence on a single agency and can reduce the likelihood of further crises which can often be distressing for the individual whilst time consuming and costly for service providers and commissioners.

Constructive challenges

Advocacy schemes provide a constant challenge to service providers to improve what they do. This challenge may be at least as effective in achieving higher quality as the more formal processes of standard-setting, inspection and regulation.

Keeping the focus on vulnerable people and those ‘hard to reach’

Independent advocacy helps the formal service system to improve the quality of what is provided for people who are hardest to serve. Independent advocacy helps keep this on the agenda. Independence helps advocates to develop relationships with groups/individuals that have been regarded as difficult to engage.

Designing user-focused services

Advocacy supports the development of person-centred services because it is involved with people whose circumstances do not readily fit standard arrangements. By testing the limitations of current services, advocacy can help professionals to redesign and refine the system so that it works better for everyone - including people with exceptional needs.