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What Is Advocacy

Advocacy In Practice

Types of Advocacy

The Role of an Advocate

Why Do People Need Advocates

Principles of Sandwell Advocacy

PRINCIPLES OF SANDWELL ADVOCACY

Sandwell Advocacy is founded upon principles which set us apart from other providers of services / organisations who provide support for those in need.

Sandwell Advocacy supports people who are unable to speak up for themselves using a combination of Independent ‘issue-based’ advocacy and / or volunteer Citizen Advocacy.

Sandwell Advocacy is reluctant to refer to individuals we work with as ‘clients’ or ‘service users’, believing them to be terms used by other service providers which often have negative connotations for those that have accessed them. Instead we call all the people we work with PARTNERS.

The following principles provide guidance for both paid and unpaid advocates:

ONE TO ONE RELATIONSHIP

Sandwell Advocacy provides advocacy that is a partnership between an individual unable to advocate for themselves and another who is able to do so. Unlike Group Advocacy, which is often effective when advocating on group issues such as legislation, disability rights etc, we provide a match between two people in which the loyalty is with a specific individual.

PURPOSE OF RELATIONSHIP

Amongst many other things it is anticipated that an advocate will seek to:

• Explore avenues open to a person; explaining these avenues in a clear and understandable way to ensure that informed decisions can be made; and then supporting people to articulate their views, needs and wishes to the appropriate people / services.
• Develop a mutually agreed ‘advocacy pathway’ which has clearly set goals and, where issue-based, works towards an eventual conclusion.
• Access greater social support networks and improve community links / participation.

LOYALTY TO PARTNER

In order to effectively represent their partner an advocate’s primary loyalty must be to that person. To ensure that the views / needs of the partner carry as much weight and do not become distorted by the interest of others (service providers, relatives), it is essential that the advocate strives to define situations from their partners perspective.

Advocacy partnerships can be paid or unpaid and Sandwell Advocacy has structures in place to ensure that both are adequately supported. Both paid and volunteer advocates are:

• Independent from agencies and settings that provide services for their partners.
• Independent from families of partners in those instances where family interests are different from those of the partner.

ADDITIONALLY, volunteer advocates will:

• Be supported by, but independent from, Sandwell Advocacy.
• View themselves as unpaid volunteers who have freely entered into an advocacy relationship for its own sake and not for payment.

INDEPENDENCE

Sandwell Advocacy is an independent registered charity with an independent management committee. We ensure and maintain our independence by:

• Ensuring that commissioners or providers of services do not formulate or influence our policies and practices.
• Ensuring that external funders are not permitted to influence operational policies or practice.

MANAGEMENT

Members of the Management Committee are local people, who are independent of agencies that might provide services to partners, and who have time, energy and commitment to give to Sandwell Advocacy.

Where it is identified that Management Committee members may be / are part of services / local authority, they are asked to complete a Declaration of Interest and are made aware of any potential conflicts of interest.

 

 
 
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