Foreword: Commissioning independent advocacy

Published: October 2014
Updated: March 2015

Lord Michael BichardThe Care Act 2014 has created a single piece of legislation that makes it clear what kind of care and support people should expect.

The Act requires local authorities to change their approach from primarily providing services to promoting people’s individual wellbeing. This means thinking about people in the context of their lives and relationships, understanding their views, wishes and feelings and involving them in every decision made about them. In other words, ‘Nothing about us, without us’.

In order for this change to happen, the Act strengthens the voice of people and their carers throughout the system – from assessment, support planning and review processes, through to safeguarding enquiries or appeals.

At certain times, however, some people may struggle to be fully involved in important decisions about their lives and will need support. It is essential that they have access to independent advocates to assist in this. The Act, for the first time, places a duty on local authorities to make sure that independent advocacy is available for those who need such support and don’t have anyone appropriate to provide it.

Access to independent advocacy lies at the very heart of the Care Act. I welcome the Social Care Institute for Excellence’s guide as an important contribution to the government’s commitment to helping local authorities make sure these duties become a reality.

Good commissioning is about more than ticking a box. It is about complying with duties and targets with the genuine engagement of people who need care and support, as well as providers and voluntary, community and user-led organisations. It also requires a commitment to quality and flexibility in uncertain times. This guide provides clear guidance to new and experienced commissioners alike.

Lord Michael Bichard signature

Lord Michael Bichard, Chair of the Board, SCIE

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