What is advocacy? Information for potential clients or families If you or a person you support finds it difficult to understand what is being said about your/their care and support needs and don’t know what to do next, then advocacy might be able to help you. What is advocacy? Advocacy is about taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain the services they need. Advocates and advocacy schemes work in partnership with individuals and they always support and take their side . Advocacy promotes social inclusion, equality and social justice. Fundamentally, advocacy is concerned with supporting people to have a voice, choice and control, and to express their views, wishes and feelings, in contrast to the role of most other professionals who are primarily concerned with promoting individuals’ best interests. Advocacy in practice can: Help you know and understand what care, support and opportunities are available to you, or support you through the Safeguarding process. Advocates will discuss what help you may need, when you need it, and in what way you want it delivered to you. We will work through the different options available as well as looking at pros and cons or consequences of the options or choices made, but we will not tell you what to do. Advocates will always work with the you to ensure that: your rights are respected, you have a voice and control, you are involved in making decisions that affect your life, your individual circumstances are considered, you can speak for yourself or if needed we can speak for you. Unfortunately Advocates cannot promise to get you what you want but we will do our best to ensure your views are listened to. Information for professionals Local authorities must consider, whether individuals are likely to experience barriers to fully engaging and participating in determining their well-being outcomes. Key barriers will include issues and situations that will impair individuals’ ability to: understand relevant information, retain information, use or weigh information, communicate their views, wishes and feelings. If there is the likelihood of someone experiencing barriers to fully participating in their care and support then Local Authorities must consider whether there is an appropriate individual who can facilitate an individual’s involvement in the assessment, planning or review process, and this includes three specific considerations. The appropriate individual cannot be: someone the individual does not want to support them; someone who is unlikely to be able to, or available to, adequately support the individual’s involvement; someone implicated in an enquiry into abuse or neglect or whose actions have influenced Local Authority decisions to consider Adult Protection and Support Order actions. In a situation where any of the criteria above applies and there is no appropriate individual who can support the individual's involvement then Local Authorities must arrange an independent professional advocate to facilitate the involvement of those individuals in their care and support.