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16 Oct 2012

New report shows that after Winterbourne, advocacy is a voice for our future

Better safeguarding, greater personalisation and improved support planning are among the benefits of advocacy, as outlined in a new report today from the VODG.

Advocacy: a voice for our future (PDF, 800Kb), published by the VODG with advocacy organisation VoiceAbility, is being launched at the VODG conference, Lessons from the Winterbourne reviews, in London today.

Cover - Advocacy ReportThe report demystifies a misunderstood movement. Advocacy, the report shows, helps prevent, detect and respond to abuse by enabling disabled and/or vulnerable people to learn about and gain confidence in promoting their rights. The report:

  • clarifies advocacy’s relevance in today’s policy and economic landscape
  • presents case study evidence of advocacy in action
  • describes the challenges to advocacy delivering greater benefits
  • outlines key messages for stakeholders like providers and commissioners

Advocacy: a voice for our future stresses that the aims of advocacy mirror those of Caring for Our Future, the social care white paper published in July 2012, including enabling people to access and use information to make good choices about care and helping them be in control of their own budget for support.

Using case studies from VODG members, the report shows how advocacy can achieve personalisation and cost-efficiency and lead to creative partnerships between provider and advocate, supporting people to develop a stronger voice. Advocacy involves relatives in co-production, improves safeguarding and boosts support planning and enhances skills and independence.

John Adams, VODG general secretary, said: “Effective advocacy is absolutely critical to disabled peoples’ citizenship; many vulnerable people and their families still live on the margins of society without a voice. This is truer than ever in today’s tough economic climate and with radical welfare reforms underway. Advocacy can make the difference between people merely existing from day-to-day, or living fulfilled lives.”

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