Working with an advocate

I have had my fair share of feeling not listened to and judged in error. It was a breath of fresh air to feel like the labels didn’t matter and I was being heard.

Bea, who met an advocate

What to expect from an advocate.

Our advocacy promises

1. We will put you in control

Your advocate will help you do things for yourself and support you to make your own decisions. Your advocate will always check you’re happy before they do anything for you.

2. We will keep things confidential

We won’t tell anyone else what you have said to us, unless you agree.

There are some exceptions. Your advocate must tell someone else if you share information about you or someone else breaking the law, or you or someone else being in danger.

If we have to tell someone else, we will explain why.

You usually have the right to meet your advocate in private. This means you can talk to them without anyone else in the room. If there is a reason that this isn’t possible, we will explain this.

3. We will ask your permission to see information about you

Your advocate may need to see your medical or care records in order to help you. Your advocate will only look at information about you if you give them permission. They will ask you to sign a form to say you are happy for this to happen.

4. We will keep information we hold about you safe. You can ask to see it.

Your advocate keeps information about the work you do together. You can also ask to see the information held about you. This information is stored safely for 18 months after the last time you contact us. You can ask for your information to be removed from our database at any time.

5. We will listen and respond to any feedback you give us

We ask people who use our service for their feedback about how we can improve and the information we provide. We’ll tell you how we’re trying to make our service better for the future. You can make a complaint at any time if you’re not happy with the service we have provided. You can do this by contacting your advocate, or you can contact our Head Office, if you prefer: feedback@voiceability.org or 0300 303 1660.

Meeting an advocate for the first time

When you meet an advocate you should feel that you can ask lots of questions

Mason, who met with an advocate
Mason’s story

When I saw an advocate, by this point my mum had brought in so many people to help me it was getting overwhelming. So when the advocate came in, I was expecting it to be kind of the same! But actually they were a lot more calming. We showed the advocate the paperwork about our problem. When you meet an advocate you should feel that you can ask lots of questions….. don’t be afraid to ask…an advocate has your best interests at heart.

What happens at the first meeting?

An advocate’s first job is to listen to you. Each person’s choices and hopes are different. The advocate will explore these by talking through them with you. 

You will plan together what to do next. The advocate might recommend you to another organisation if that looks like the better option for you.

You can ask your advocate as many questions as you like.

Who comes to the meeting, and where does it happen?

Normally it will just be you and the advocate at the first meeting. We’ll let you know if anyone else has to be there.

The meeting might be on the phone or video call, if you have agreed to that. If the meeting will be in person, the advocate will try and make sure the meeting is in the safest, most convenient location for you.

If there’s something we can do to make the meeting better for you, let us know.

How long does the first meeting last?

It’s good to set aside one hour for the first meeting. But the length can be shorter if that suits you better.

Information in Easy Read