Non-instructed advocacy considers the following question:
‘How can we (Advocates) best advocate for people who cannot tell us clearly what they want or need?’
For individuals with severe communication difficulties a non-instructed advocate will, where possible, spend time finding out if a person is able to express a view and how they communicate, getting to know the partner’s preferred method of communication. If it is clear that a partner lacks capacity to understand options or form views a non-instructed advocate will have a safeguarding role, ensuring that the partner’s rights are upheld.
In a situation where an advocate does not have the opportunity to spend much time getting to know the partner their role is to safeguard the basic human rights of the partner. The Advocate acts as an observer ensuring that the person is receiving appropriate services and support, this is called the Witness/Observer Approach.
The Advocate needs to consider how the partner would feel in the situation, taking account of as much past and present information as is available and keeping in mind the partner’s human rights and Human Rights Legislation. The advocate should also encourage service providers to appreciate how the partner might feel. To facilitate this Ceartas makes use of the “Watching Brief Approach” an approach developed by ASIST Advocacy.