Change that leads to better lives

Gail Petty, NDTi’s Advocacy Lead introduces Advocacy Awareness Week 2020

Welcome to Advocacy Awareness Week 2020!!

It’s time for our third annual advocacy awareness week and this year, perhaps more than ever, it feels vital to be sharing and telling our stories about all that advocacy can achieve, with and for people and communities.

Gail Petty

We worked in collaboration with a number of advocates and advocacy providers to decide on our campaign theme this year and I’m so pleased that we agreed to focus on the Power of Partnership (see what I did there?!)

Partnerships in Action

This year has, for me, been a year that has shown the Power of Partnerships in action. I’ve heard so many powerful stories about partnerships:

  • from advocates about how they have overcome barriers to delivering advocacy through the pandemic by working in partnership with individuals, families and providers
  • from advocacy providers about working with local networks to address systemic issues
  • from networks of advocates listening and learning from each other to share solutions to common issues
  • from partnerships with statutory authorities, like ADASS and the LGA to create resources that support effective advocacy

And perhaps the most striking for me, has been a partnership of advocacy providers nationally, coming together to take action, to share experiences, resources and stories, to create change to ensure that people’s rights are upheld and change that leads to better lives. The Advocacy and Coronavirus Myth Buster, the Upholding Rights and Valuing Voices: Advocacy Principles for Coronavirus and beyond paper and the Valuing Voices Report are all powerful examples of effective partnership working in action!

So much of what we do as advocates and advocacy providers is about effective partnership working and over the course of this week, we’ll be sharing blogs, vlogs and more to tell the story of effective partnership working with:

  • Individuals
  • Families and Professionals
  • Self-Advocacy Groups

As well as

  • Partnerships and co-production within our organisations
  • Partnerships in our communities and with local services
  • Partnerships within the advocacy sector

Why is effective partnership working so important?

There are so many reasons why partnership working is important – here’s just a few!

We’re stronger together

Partnerships can have greater influence - collective voices are powerful. When we come together over a shared vision or goal, we can have a louder and more impactful voice and generate greater leverage for change. Our actions become more visible and help create change. When we work together, we inspire and motivate each other. Shared commitments can generate momentum and get things done.

Benefitting from others experiences and expertise

Working together to share expertise, experiences and resources is effective and efficient. Learning from each other and hearing how others have addressed particular problems or issues can help us resolve our own issues and difficulties. Pooling expertise and resources can also help drive improvements and consistency.

Power in Diversity

When we work in partnerships, we have an opportunity to better understand different voices, experiences, goals and agendas. Being inclusive can give our collective voice greater authority and authenticity. The expertise and perspective that comes from a range of voices is powerful. Diverse voices can broaden our reach and our impact.

Demonstrating values and respect

Our partnerships give us an opportunity to demonstrate our values and respect for each other. When we work together as partners, we need to be accountable to each other and to our role within the partnership.

We’re more likely to get it right!

Effective partnership working means we’re more likely to get it right, whether that’s an advocacy service to an individual or a joint national campaign. For example, when we work together with local services and within local systems we are able to deliver better advocacy and achieve better outcomes for individuals as well as being more able to create broader, systemic change.

Co-production and involving people and communities in our organisations is a core part of advocacy – working together with people in our communities to create opportunities, solve problems, change systems and processes all help us to get it right for the people we support.

What can we do to make our partnerships even more effective?

There is so much we can do to ensure our partnerships are impactful and effective!

Prioritise time – effective partnership work takes time and energy. We need to invest in our partnerships to ensure they flourish and have impact.

Listen and Learn – Partnership working requires us to listen, to listen deeply and to understand others. Partners come with differing views, experiences, perspectives and goals. That’s part of what makes partnerships so strong! When we listen and learn from others, we further our own knowledge and expertise…. And, when we’re heard within a partnership, we’re much more likely to continue to contribute as we know our views and experiences are valued.

Having a clear goal and purpose – Partnerships are most effective when we are coming together around a common goal, purpose or shared vision for change. To have impact as a partnership we need clarity around why we are working together and what we want to achieve.

Trust and Openness – Effective partnership working requires us to trust each other and to understand our differences. We don’t all need to agree all of the time, but we do need to be open and honest in order to generate trust and for the partnership to have integrity.

Agree how decisions are made – Agreeing and understanding how decisions will be made within the partnerships supports transparency and inclusion.

Agree who is responsible for action – Partnership working requires us to be accountable to each other and to our shared goals.

Reflect on and celebrate achievements – Formally reviewing and recognising achievements and understanding our impact and what we have achieved, as well as reflecting on how we could have done better, keeps us motivated and engaged.

So, this Advocacy Awareness Week, please do share your stories of the #PowerofPartnership! We can’t wait to hear more about all that you do.

Advocacy sector – have a wonderful #AAW20 and remember to #HearMyVoice!

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Contact Details

Gail Petty

Contact Office

Bath (Registered Office)

National Development Team for Inclusion
4 Queen Street

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