Key messages for commissioning advocacy under the Care Act based on emerging good practice
Six key steps to strengthen the commissioning of advocacy under the Care Act
- Understanding what advocacy is and the need for independence.
- Embedding co-production in commissioning.
- Responding to local needs and diversity
- Supporting access to advocacy
- Strategic and quality approach to commissioning.
- Meaningful and proportionate monitoring to measure outcome.
We define everything as Care Act advocacy if they meet the threshold and it’s about their life, they get an advocate... I think there is a mix-up about advocacy – it’s not just about the law. We call it social care and community advocacy. It is difficult to define but if someone needs an advocate, they get it.(Commissioner, interview)
Key findings about the implementation of advocacy under the Care Act
- There was evidence of promising practice in the commissioning of advocacy under the Care Act but several local authorities had initially adopted a cautious ‘wait and see’ approach.
- Some local authorities were still to specifically commission advocacy under the Care Act.
- Under half of local authorities (47 per cent) reported involving people using or likely to use social care and family carers in the commissioning process.
- There was wide variation in the methods local authorities used for estimating likely demand for advocacy.
- The majority (60 per cent) initially commissioned a single advocacy provider, with 38 per cent commissioning a service ‘hub’ or partnership with a lead provider.
- Less than 10 per cent of the local authority sample reported spot purchasing as the only method of commissioning advocacy under the Care Act.
- More than half of providers considered arrangements for referral as not working well, often attributing this to frontline staff’s lack of understanding of their duty to refer.
- In some areas, there had been fewer than 10 referrals since April 2015, and in others over 400.
- Local authorities reported prioritising statutory advocacy as a result of financial austerity: 22 per cent of commissioners reported either stopping commissioning or reducing access to non-statutory advocacy during 2015/16.
All SCIE resources are free to download, however to access some of the following downloads you will need a free MySCIE account:
- Commissioning advocacy under the Care Act: Emerging good practice
- Care Act 2014: Commissioning independent advocacy
- At a glance summary of Care Act 2014: Commissioning independent advocacy
- Easy read summary of Care Act 2014: Commissioning independent advocacy