Manchester: Integrated Advocacy Hub

Published: October 2014
Updated: March 2015

Manchester City Council taking a lead from the strong steer within statutory Care Act guidance has established an integrated, independent advocacy service which embraces Care Act, Mental Capacity Act and Mental Health Act statutory advocacy requirements. The service is to be known as the Manchester Advocacy Hub.

This follows a public consultation and competitive procurement process. The integrated approach received strong support from stakeholders. Advocacy services within Manchester were poorly developed, investment was spread across a number of small contracts which inhibited sustainable investment in management, training and data collection. We had no means by which we could measure need and outcomes.

The specification embraced the SCIE recommendation to retain some flexibility to respond to levels of demand which are likely to grow but at a rate which may be difficult to predict. It will take time for Care Act requirements to be fully absorbed into practice with potential peaks and troughs as self-funders are drawn into the care and support system, whilst the implications of the West Cheshire judgement have also yet to fully work through the system in respect of demand growth on Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy services.

Manchester's specification is broken down into two components. A block contract covers the core infrastructure of the Manchester Advocacy Hub including 18,500 hours of independent advocacy per year. In addition, a spot contract provides an hourly price at which additional hours may purchase as demand requires.

The central function of the Manchester Advocacy Hub is to deliver statutory independent advocacy services as and when required without delay to core assessment and safeguarding processes. In addition, the specification requires the Hub to bear down on demand and dependency by developing tools to support self-advocacy, to support relatives and friends who come forward to act as informal advocates and to support the valuable role played by the wider VCS and peer-support sector.

Download: Service Specification - Manchester Advocacy Hub Service

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