Analyse: Tasks for independent advocacy commissioning

Published: October 2014
Updated: March 2015

Collect and analyse information to understand current and future demand for advocacy under the Care Act.

Work closely with colleagues (researchers, public health, project leads, etc.) to gather information about the likely demand for independent advocacy under the new duties.

This could include data on population projections such as your local joint strategic needs assessment or national databases such as POPPI and PANSI.

The duties of an advocate under the Care Act are also more robust than other kinds of specific engagement. They focus more on enabling involvement, and this in turn may require more time and hence resources.

Analysis should also consider any proposed changes in the assessment and care management pathway for people with social care needs (including children in transition to adulthood), and carers, along with any increased engagement with self-funders, and the likely impact this may have on the uptake of advocacy services.

The analysis should take into account the increase in demand on the system that will accompany the implementation of funding reforms, as well as the likely increase in demand as people become more aware of their rights under the Act. A good starting point is the government’s impact assessment of the reforms.

You should review current advocacy provision and uptake, considering:

You should analyse potential demand for Care Act advocacy in conjunction with preparations for the potential increase in demand for needs and carers’ assessments in line with the new duties under the Act.

The Local Government Association provides some useful tools for understanding the costs of the reforms overall. See: Understanding the cost of the Care Act in 2015.

In addition, the impact assessment for the Care Act sets out the anticipated national costs associated with access to independent advocacy under the Act:

Year Total recurring costs
2015/16 £14.5m
2016/17 £34.6m
2017/18 £49.5m
2018/19 £67.1m

These costings were based on the expected numbers of needs assessments, carers’ assessments and reviews and applied specific assumptions to the expected numbers having a right to and take-up of advocacy, based on the experience of existing advocacy provision. For more information see: Impact Assessment (IA).

The overall national costings and the model used in the impact assessment when applied to local figures may assist you in getting a sense of the scale of potential demand. You may want to test this locally by undertaking a review of recent assessments/reviews and applying the Care Act provisions to them.

Modelling should be based on your understanding of how these variables will affect each area. You might consider auditing a small sample of assessments, making a judgement about their need for advocacy in light of the changes, then extrapolating these findings. A judgement could then be made about what proportion of assessments post April 2015 and 2016 will require advocacy.

This modelling exercise should include analysis in conjunction with any proposed redesign of the assessment and care management regime in response to the duties under the Care Act.

Seek out and reflect on research and good practice evidence to understand the quality of services and decide what mix of services will meet local needs.

Seek out good practice in the form of quality standards including:

Refer to the SCIE resources on advocacy. This type of reflection on good practice in advocacy should assist you in specifying the type of service most appropriate to meet demand in your area. It may also help you identify good practice that is already taking place.

Understand the resources available to meet your advocacy duties under the Care Act and project future financial commitments based on likely demand.

As a commissioner of independent advocacy under the Act you should ensure all plans are linked with overall departmental and corporate aims in relation to preparations for Care Act implementation. Implementation plans should begin with an analysis of demand (as described above) and commit appropriate resources to ensure compliance with the Act.

Benchmark the costs of commissioning plans and discuss this with commissioners from comparable councils.

Communicate with comparable local authorities to benchmark demand analysis and resource allocations. Consider seeking support from representatives of different councils through the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services in order to identify potential partner authorities.

Develop systematic processes of co-producing commissioning.

Refer to SCIE’s guide to co-production.

Commissioning, purchasing and monitoring activity should be developed alongside users and potential users of services to ensure that the supply of advocates meets local need effectively.

Seek to understand current levels of supply including what currently works well, and where there is over- and under-supply of services.

Review what happens locally and seek to understand what works well now and how this could be expanded if required.

Map current provision and uptake of services against the current level of demand and the service user pathway to understand fluctuations and barriers to accessing advocacy services.

Analyse and explore the impact of any changes to advocacy services on users, and seek to understand the implications of any changes in line with the Equality Act 2010.

Analyse the performance and demand of existing advocacy provision in your local authority area.

Consider the performance of existing advocacy services in your area (statutory and non-statutory). In light of this analysis, you may decide to review the provision of all services and consolidate them into one contractual arrangement