My advocate made me feel human, and reminded me that I have inherent value.
We work with over 26,000 people in local communities every year, and influence policy-making nationally to make sure people’s voices are heard.
Making an impact in 2021-22
people helped through individual advocacy or peer support
Who we support
63% of our work last year was with people who had a mental health condition, dementia or a learning disability.
876 of the people we supported were children and young people.
of people supported were over 65
VoiceAbility offers a range of advocacy services. Our presence is especially strong in the Midlands and the North East, and 59% of our cases were opened in these regions.
- The Scottish government commissioned us to provide advocacy across the country to support disabled people to access Social Security Scotland benefits
- We added webchat to our website, offering a new way to talk to an advocate directly
- Our plain English self-help toolkit for making an NHS complaint was revised and updated
- The Hampshire Safeguarding Adults board commissioned us to carry out a thematic review into Safeguarding Adults Reviews where people had died
is our average response time, down from 1 minute
- Speak Out leaders in Cambridgeshire and Experts by Experience in Coventry and Warwickshire co-produced a training film for the specialist lawyers who work in the Court of Protection; one solicitor described it as “the most important video on technical practice I have ever seen”
- Busy People self-advocates in Hampshire (who are people with learning disabilities and autistic people) worked with the Clinical Commissioning Group and Hampshire Learning Disabilities Partnership, making recommendations about services, meetings and how to provide accessible information
of people supported met their advocate face to face
Influencing for national change
- We continued to work with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS), the only advocacy provider on the National Implementation Steering Group
- We also worked with DHSC to inform their proposals on advocacy as part of the Mental Health Act reforms, promoting the benefits of extending eligibility for Independent Mental Health Advocacy
- In response to the Care Quality Commission’s Out of Sight action plan, we made the case for a nationally-commissioned specialist advocacy service for people with learning disabilities and autistic people in mental health inpatient services, and an opt-out model of advocacy
cases worked on this year
Improving as an organisation
- We added five new Communities of Practice where specialist advocates share best practice and tackle issues quickly, and continued to review and develop our advocacy standards so staff are constantly supported
- We undertook a pay review to ensure pay is fair and competitive
- We invested in learning and development, with two new officers and a new Learning Hub to launch in May 2022
- We recruited a dedicated Belonging Project Manager, to ensure people feel valued and can bring their authentic selves to work, and to develop our staff forums so everyone has a voice in new initiatives and can propose improvements and new ideas