I’m really excited about the first ever Advocacy Awareness Week!
My hope is that this will be a week of celebrating all that is great in advocacy, as well as being an opportunity to tell our stories of the power and impact that advocacy can have in people’s lives; in having their voices heard and understood, in having rights upheld, in addressing inequalities and achieving social justice and ultimately in achieving the lives that people want to live.
All too often, we still hear that many people don’t understand advocacy – what it is and how it differs from other kinds of supports – this week we all have an added opportunity to share - with videos, blogs, news, advocacy facts, and more to tell the story of advocacy.
This week at NDTi, we will be sharing content related to our campaign theme of this year, “Statutory Advocacy Is Not Enough”
Many of you will have heard me say that I believe statutory advocacy – the advocacy that people have a right to under legislation – is hugely important. It provides vital safeguards to people, many of whom may be in extremely vulnerable positions, facing huge challenges, where big decisions are being made that could have a significant impact in how they are able to live their lives - and where people’s rights and freedoms may also be at risk.
That is, for those who are eligible – and if we were to draw a Venn diagram of people who meet the eligibility criteria for the majority of statutory advocacy and those who want or need to access advocacy support – the eligible people would probably form a fairly small cross section in the middle. I heard from one provider recently, that about 45% of the people that they have traditionally supported will now have no access to advocacy services as the Local Authority has shifted its focuses to commissioning statutory advocacy in the main. Numbers like this are both shocking and concerning.
When we only deliver statutory advocacy, we miss out on enabling those that who fall outside that strict eligibility to say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need – in relation to the health, social care and education systems and beyond.
Here are some of my thoughts and observations about the power and importance of Non-Statutory advocacy. We’ll be sharing further blogs and content in relation to some of these during the week and I hope they may also prompt you in to sharing some of your own stories this week:
So, here’s a reminder of how to get involved:
Whether you’re an advocacy organisation, an advocate or a person who has benefitted from advocacy we’d love to hear your story. Share, blogs, videos, news stories pictures and case studies online using the hashtag #AAW18
Statutory advocacy provides important and vital safeguards to those who are eligible, however when we only deliver statutory advocacy we miss out on enabling people who fall outside that strict eligibility to say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need.
Gail Petty is the Advocacy & Voice Lead at the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi)
NDTi is an organisation that promotes equal and inclusive lives for people in their communities, particularly where ageing or disability are issues
Gail Petty's blog is a personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NDTi.