During September 2014 we consulted on how to provide 'independent advocacy' for people needing personal care and support so that they can say what they want, and get the service they need.
This is part of the Council's work with the NHS and other agencies to address changes in the law affecting the care and support needs of adults: the Care Act 2014, which comes into effect next year, and which says that people should remain as independent as possible and in control of decisions about their care and support needs.
What is independent advocacy?
If you need personal social care and support, we must involve you in planning and managing the service you need. The new Care Act says that if you also have difficulty communicating your views or understanding information, and a friend or relative can't help, we must find you an ‘independent advocate' who can help you to speak up, tell us about your needs, help you understand your rights and help you get the care and support you need.
We developed proposals to provide this support through a service to be known as the Manchester Advocacy Hub which would provide a single, straightforward route to advocacy support across all needs and disabilities.
The consultation process
We invited opinions on these proposals between 1 September and 30 September 2014, in a survey which could be done online or on paper. Council staff also made presentations outlining the proposals and publicising the consultation.
We received 105 surveys:
- 46% of respondents had previous direct personal experience of using an advocate.
- 85% of that group used the services of an advocacy organisation, the remainder using the support of a relative or friend.
- 44% of those who used an advocacy organisation accessed that organisation with the help of a professional health or social care worker, 22% were helped by a 'voluntary and community sector' organisation.
- 88% of those who used an advocacy organisation used a locally contracted organisation.
- 95% of those who used an organisation agreed that the advocacy service helped them to understand all or most of their rights and 80% agreed that advocacy helped them to be more involved in their care and support planning.
- 89% of those with direct experience of using advocacy services and 72% of total respondents agreed or tended to agree that an Advocacy Hub was a good way to organise the service.
- 73% of total respondents agreed or tended to agree that the Hub should include access to all statutory advocacy services.
- 87% of total respondents agreed or tended to agree that the Hub should not simply provide independent advocates but should also support relatives or friends acting as informal advocates.
- 58% of respondents favoured an Advocacy Hub that embraced a number of specialist organisations, 27% supported a single provider organisation for all advocacy services, and 15% expressed no preference.
We also got personal responses from people who stressed the vital role that advocacy services had played in helping them get the services and support they required, the importance of continuity in their advocacy relationship and their fear that such services might be lost.
The Council's Health & Wellbeing Board considered a report on the consultation results on 5 November 2014 (item 6) and agreed to establish the proposed Advocacy Hub.
We are now making arrangements to select the organisation that will run the Advocacy Hub using a process called competitive tendering.
We will link to new Advocacy Hub website from here when it is launched.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.