Advocacy in Manchester: Case study
Updated: September 2020
Manchester City Council, taking a lead from the strong steer within statutory Care Act guidance, has established an integrated, independent advocacy service which embraces the Care Act, Mental Capacity Act, Mental Health Act and NHS complaints statutory advocacy requirements. The service is known as Gaddum Advocacy, run by Manchester-based charity, Gaddum.
This followed 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. They 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 were likely to grow, but at a rate that may have been difficult to predict. It has taken time for Care Act requirements to be fully absorbed into practice with the consequent peaks and troughs, whilst the Cheshire West MCA judgement has created a sustained increase in demand for Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA) services.
Manchester's specification is broken down into two components. A block contract covers the core infrastructure of Gaddum Advocacy including 20,000 hours of independent advocacy per year. In addition, a spot contract provides an hourly price at which additional hours may be purchased as demand requires.
The central function of Gaddum Advocacy is to deliver statutory independent advocacy services as and when required without delay to core assessment and safeguarding processes. In addition, the specification requires Gaddum Advocacy to bear down on demand and dependency by developing tools to:
- support self-advocacy
- support relatives and friends who come forward to act as informal advocates
- support the valuable role played by the wider VCS and peer-support sector.
The service has recently developed further to include a Peer Advocacy project, after non-statutory advocacy needs were identified. The project is run by a dual-qualified advocate. Volunteer peer advocates are trained to provide support to people who have an ongoing need for advocacy, but who are no longer eligible for a statutory advocacy service. As it is a peer advocacy project, the service is recruiting volunteers who have their own lived experience so they can empower the people they are working with through common experience.
Commissioning independent advocacy
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