Subscribe to NDTi News

Thank you for taking the time to subscribe.

The Impact of Advocacy for People who Need Support

The NDTi have been granted funding from the National Institute for Health Research’s School of Social Care Research (SSCR) to gather and review the evidence available on the impact of different types of advocacy for people who need support.

A copy of the full published report, the NDTi Insight (No. 19) - The impact of advocacy for people who use social care services: a review of the evidence, and a copy of the press statement, released when the report was first published are available through the ‘Related Documents’ bar to the right of your screen.

Advocacy has been described as:

‘Taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need. Advocates and advocacy schemes work in partnership with the people they support and take their side. Advocacy promotes social inclusion, equality and social justice.’

The review is being carried out to achieve three main objectives:

  • Help to understand the impact of advocacy, and the benefits of investing in it against a range of different factors and outcomes
  • Describe this in relation to different forms and types of advocacy to help inform decisions about what type of advocacy to invest in for which purpose
  • Focus on gathering evidence of economic and financial impact (if such evidence exists), in order to help inform investment decisions in the current financial context.

This review will cover evidence from the UK and Ireland, from 1990 onwards. It will include advocacy for different ‘groups’ of people who need support, including: adults (of all ages) and children; disabled people; people with mental health problems or learning disabilities; and self funders.

The analysis and findings will present evidence in a more comprehensive and robust way than we believe has happened to date, helping local authorities plan, buy and deliver more effective advocacy services. It will also provide vital evidence for organisations delivering advocacy services on existing and potential impact. 

The study will gather and scope relevant evidence on the influence of and links between various factors, including:

  • The resources invested (in terms of spend)
  • The way the resources have been used (e.g. to fund professional advocacy workers, hold events or provide training) 
  • Different types of advocacy involved, including:
    • Self-advocacy – people advocating for themselves
    • Peer advocacy – people advocating for those defined in a similar way
    • Professional advocacy – people who are paid as skilled representatives to speak on behalf of a person (such as IMCAs)
    • Representational advocacy – people who represent the interests of another on a voluntary basis (such as citizen advocacy)
    • Family advocacy – families explicitly advocating for their family member
  • The impact in different areas including: outcomes for people supported; service design for individuals; service delivery; costs and policy / strategy.

The review will gather information in two main ways:

  • Through a structured search for peer reviewed and grey literature
  • By issuing a call for information to organisations providing and commissioning advocacy services.

If you have or know of any information on the impact of advocacy services which you would be able to share with us or tell us about, we would be delighted to hear from you - please contact Alison Macadam. If you would like to register an interest in this review, and/or receive updates and learning materials as they are produced, please click here.