What is Independent Advocacy?
Independent Advocacy is about making sure that the rights and opinions of individuals are heard and respected. Advocacy Workers can act as representatives for people who would like support in expressing their opinions which sometimes means the worker will speak up on the person’s behalf and/or will be there in a supporting role and sit alongside the person as they speak up for themselves.
Independent Advocacy is a way to help you to make your voice stronger and to have as much control as possible over your own life. Advocacy Workers do not make decisions on your behalf and will not put words in your mouth. They will help you get the information you need to make good choices and give you the help you need to express yourself clearly. Independent advocates do not work for hospitals, doctors or social work services and you do not have to pay for advocacy.
How do I get an Advocacy Worker in East Dunbartonshire?
Ceartas is the independent advocacy organisation in East Dunbartonshire and can be contacted on 0141 775 0433 or fill out the On line Form. The name Ceartas (cyɻ-tas – pronounced KEIR-tis) is a Gaelic word meaning ‘equality, justice and fairness’. These are the values which we promote through our work with the people of East Dunbartonshire.
You can refer yourself for advocacy or family members or carers can make a referral on your behalf. Social Workers, GPs, Support Workers, Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPN) or any other professional involved with you, can also contact Ceartas on your behalf to make a referral.
How Can an Advocacy Worker Help?
- Help you prepare for meetings and give you the information you need
- Attend meetings either on your behalf or with you so you feel that your views are being heard
- Contact others involved in your care or treatment
- Always keep you informed of, and involved in, what is happening
- Understand the choices available to you
- Put your views forward to others
- Ensure that others listen to you
- Communicate with other important people in your life
- Obtain the care and services to which you are entitled
What if I am not Able to Tell the Advocacy Worker What I Want?
Individuals are entitled to have control of their own lives; however there may be times where through lack of capacity or severe communication difficulties some individuals may find themselves in a position where they are unable to exercise choice or control or represent their own views. In such circumstances it is important that people have access to the support of an independent advocate to ensure that their needs and rights are both respected and acted upon. This model of advocacy is referred to as non-instructed advocacy. Read More on Non-instructed Advocacy Here.
Ceartas is a member of the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance (SIAA) and is guided by the SIAA’s principles and values. The SIAA promotes, supports and defends the principles and practice of Independent Advocacy across Scotland.