Independent advocacy is a service to help people have a stronger voice and have as much control as possible over their own lives. The service is independent of organisations which provide other types of services, and the focus is on the individual’s needs, hopes, and goals.
An independent advocate will not make decisions on behalf of the person they are supporting; instead helping the person to get the information they need to make choices about their circumstances while supporting the person to put their choices across to others.
Four principles of independent advocacy
Independent advocacy puts the person using it first
Independent advocacy is accountable
Independent advocacy is as free as it can be from conflicts of interest
Independent advocacy is accessible
The main themes of advocacy
Empowering people who need a stronger voice by enabling them to express their own needs and make their own decisions.
Enabling people to access information, explore their options, and make their views and wishes known.
Safeguarding people who are vulnerable and discriminated against or whom services find difficult to serve.
Speak on behalf of people who are unable to do so for themselves.
What Advocacy Is
About standing alongside people who are in danger of being pushed to the margins of society.
About standing up for and sticking with a person and taking their side.
A process of working towards natural justice.
Listening to someone and trying to understand their point of view.
Understanding their situation and what may be stopping them from getting what they want.
Offering the person support to tell people what they want or introducing them to others who may be able to help.
Helping someone to know what choices they have and what the consequences of these choices might be.
Enabling a person to have control over their life but taking up issues on their behalf if they want you to.
What Advocacy Is Not
Making decisions for soneone.
Care and support work.
Telling or advising someone what you think they should do.
Solving all of someone’s problems for them.
Speaking for someone who is able to express a view.
Filling all the gaps in someone’s life.
Acting in a way which benefits other people more than the person you are advocating for.
Agreeing with everything a person says and doing anything a person asks you to do.