Advocacy is when someone supports you to speak up, or speaks on your behalf, to ensure you are involved in decisions made about you.
Some people have a legal right to an advocate.
Advocacy services offer confidential, free and independent support provided by trained advocates. "Independent" means they are there to represent your wishes without giving their personal opinion and without representing the views of the NHS or the local authority.
Children and young people should be listened to and their views taken into account, especially when making plans that directly affect their lives. The national youth advocacy service provides advocates for young people involved with education and social care services who may have an issue they want considered.
What the service can do for children and young people
The national youth advocacy service can work alongside children and young people who are looked after, care leavers, children in residential units and children excluded from school.
They can also support any child involved in child protection investigations which are proceeding to a child protection conference, or any "whistle-blowing" situation, including attending meetings relating to such investigations.
Additionally, they will support any child who is on the threshold of being "looked after" and is attending family group conferences.
The national youth advocacy service can also support children and young people pursuing a complaint through the complaints procedure and help to provide them with the information about their rights and options, helping them clarify their complaint and what they would like to happen. They can provide support at any stage in the complaints system, including any formal hearings or interviews.
They can advise and inform any child or young person "in need" and who is involved with social care services of their rights and responsibilities. They can also attend review meetings with children and young people and help them put forward their views in a way that is understood clearly by all those present.
Getting an advocate from the national youth advocacy service
The national youth advocacy service prefers a child or young person to contact them directly.
They will however, accept a request for an advocate from someone else, for example a social worker or a parent. It is recognised that children and young people often find it difficult to make the first contact. The service will quickly follow up any request with the young person themselves to see whether they will accept the service.
Visit the national youth advocacy service website for more information.
Health and social care processes can be complicated - some of us need a bit of help to make sure our views are heard.
If you are having substantial difficulty in understanding our care and support and safeguarding processes then you can ask your family, friend or neighbour to speak on your behalf if they are happy to represent your views. If you are unable to fully participate in conversations about your needs and there is no one that can help you, a care manager will act as your advocate, or we can arrange for an independent advocate.
We have a single advocacy provider for adults that covers the whole of North Yorkshire that you may wish to contact directly.
This is a confidential, free and independent service provided by trained advocates. As a confidential service, anything you say to an advocate will not be revealed to your social or health worker or anyone else. The service can help if you:
- want to have a say about what happens to you;
- are struggling to stay involved in decisions about your health and wellbeing or about where you live; or
- know someone else who needs support.
You may meet with an advocate at your home or if you'd prefer, at a neutral place. The advocate will work with you until the issue is resolved.
There are a number of advocacy services that can support North Yorkshire residents, these can be found by searching the internet. North Yorkshire County Council has a single advocacy service in partnership with Total Advocacy that you may wish to contact directly. The service is run by locally based advocates across the county, details are as follows:
The service covers:
- Care Act statutory advocacy;
- non-statutory advocacy, to promote a person's wellbeing in situations when carrying out any of their care and support functions;
- independent mental capacity advocacy;
- deprivation of liberty safeguards relevant person's representative;
- independent mental health advocacy; and
- if you are not eligible for independent advocacy, Cloverleaf can signpost you to alternative sources of support, information and advice appropriate for your needs.
What do we mean by "substantial difficulty"?
This may mean you are unable to:
- understand relevant information;
- remember or recall information;
- make decisions or understand the impact of a decision; or
- communicate your views, wishes and feelings.