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