Individual Independent Professional Advocacy
Working with Parents
Knowing her rights
Many people in society are disempowered.
Disempowered to such an extent that they are unlikely to be able to fulfil their basic human needs, or demand their basic human rights.
Circles Network have been providing advocacy for disabled and disadvantaged people for over 16 years.
Our Individual Independent Professional Advocacy work aims to:
- Safeguard people who are vulnerable and discriminated against, or who services find difficult to serve.
- Empower people who need a stronger voice, by enabling them to express their own needs and make their own decisions.
- Enable people to gain access to information, explore and understand their options, and to make their views and wishes known.
- Speak on behalf of people who are unable to do so for themselves.
We use advocacy in a wide range of settings from Collective Advocacy where people are inspired and supported in groups or a Patients Council to directly providing Individual Independent Professional Advocacy for a wide range of people including those with dementia or enduring mental ill health, people with eating disorders, people with learning difficulties and people supported in forensic settings.
In Scotland, our advocacy projects continue to thrive and we have worked in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Fife. The extensive range of advocacy work we have undertaken has helped us to develop a unique Person Centred approach to advocacy and includes:
- Greater Glasgow Health Board – Individual Advocacy and Collective Advocacy to men with mental health problems and learning difficulties who have offended.
- Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board - Individual Advocacy and Collective Advocacy to both inpatients and outpatients at Leverndale Hospital.
- West of Scotland Forensic Services - Individual Advocacy and Collective Advocacy to people detained within Rowanbank Clinic.
- Fife Council - Individual and Collective Advocacy to people throughout Fife who have mental health challenges and or Dementia
- NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Inverclyde Community Health Partnership - Independent Instructed and Non-Instructed Advocacy for eligible people in Inverclyde.
- Lothian Health Board - Individual Advocacy to adult patients in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.
- Lothian Health Board - Individual Advocacy to patients within the young people’s unit at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and associated outlying facilities.
- Lothian Health Board - Individual Advocacy to people with a diagnosis of Dementia who remain in their own homes within the city of Edinburgh.
- Lothian Heath Board - management support to the Patients Council.
Glasgow Forensic Advocacy Services
Circles Network, under contract to the West of Scotland Forensic Board and Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board, provide independent advocacy to patients detained in hospitals. The project fulfils statutory advocacy functions to people on medium secure and forensic wards and people discharged to the community for a period of time.
The advocacy team work across many settings supporting people in Court Cases, Parole Boards, Mental Health Tribunals, Care Programme Approach Reviews, Social Work Reviews, Children’s Hearings and matters such as Named Person Nomination or Revocation and Advance or Personal Statements. In addition to this intensive support, advocates work daily to fully support people with crisis or chronic issues such as: benefits claims and financial issues, housing issues such as rental arrangements and property storage, applications for bank accounts, concerns with NHS treatment and liaison with Consultant Psychiatrists, First Minister Advisers, Lawyers and Mental Health Officers.
Unlike many of our projects, in Glasgow we work with a fairly static population year on year. The project team engage regularly with almost 100% of the resident population in the clinics, supporting nearly 140 individuals with individual and collective advocacy. In the community, the number of people supported has steadily risen and the project has been able to make significant impacts on the lives of people ordinarily isolated from the full range of resources available while resident in hospital.
The team have excelled in raising the profile of the role of the Independent Advocate and are more than ever, relied upon for their solutions based approach to a huge range of problems and issues faced by patients. The team are constantly called on for a wide range of support: from providing emotional support for people undergoing surgery, to sourcing interpreter services for people to improve their access to resources, securing funds from voluntary agencies to assist in matters of inequality and supporting patients in dispute with family members.
The team now successfully run Collective Advocacy Group Forums in the medium secure setting we work in and collectively supported patients with their views on such issues as the hospital’s smoking policy, diet, restricted Items lists and access to leisure activities.
Perhaps the most vital impact of the project is in HM Courts where, the team’s presence has been significant in improving the experience of vulnerable adults undergoing criminal proceedings. The project team take all the opportunities available to liaise with other agencies, lobby on wider issues and collaboratively support wider developments.
Advocacy in Fife
Our Fife project covers three areas of Independent Advocacy: Professional, Collective and Citizen Advocacy for people with dementia and mental health difficulties. Funded by Fife Council and Fife NHS, the project supported 785 individuals in 2011-2012 with Professional Advocacy and this included 470 new people introduced to the service.
Professional Advocacy ensures that individual’s views and opinions are heard and listened to, respected and acted upon.
Circles Network provide Collective Advocacy both in the community and hospitals throughout Fife. The project has reached over 15 community and hospital groups and this is continuing to develop. Success to date has included:
- Increased social outings for individuals within Stratheden Hospital.
- Raised awareness of difficulties in benefits assessment that has influenced local planning.
- Development of stronger partnerships between people who use services, planners and service providers.
- Invitations for people using services to participate in a wide range of local consultations.
Advocacy in Inverclyde
We are delighted to announce a new addition to our advocacy services in Scotland. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Inverclyde Community Health and Care Partnership have commissioned Circles Network to deliver Independent Instructed and Non-Instructed Advocacy to people, aged 16 and over, including people aged over 65 and resident in Inverclyde who:
- Experience a level of disability which impairs their ability to advocate on their own behalf
- Are carers to someone in Inverclyde with eligible needs
- Have complex needs and are experiencing situations which they are unable to cope with without professional support; such as homelessness or addiction.