Today at tthe North London Advocacy Forum


trainerAdvocacy is changing

Advocacy will change

We are two years away from this being a national sensation.

Staff will be required to have an accredited qualification in independent advocacy.

There will be a National Service Framework.

We will become as robotic and as accountable as Social Workers. Our organisations will have complaints policies that will be used as other organisations complaints policies are used to absolve staff and the organisation of any blame. Or will we/they?

The idealist within me as always resisted these moves. The pragmatist is prepared to work within the structure we are blessed with. Indeed I wish to be a trainer if we have to have the qualifications. I would be good at it.

How did we come to this schism, this deepening, chaotic chasm.

Mr Professional who sat to my left said it is all about making savings, improving efficiency at lower costs within the advocacy world.

Wrong.

Advocacy works. Advocates and Advocacy Partners and self advocates love advocacy. it means something to them. it is real. It gives you a chance, it gives you a say. Knowing that it works, knowing that it is loved and respected led some of us into a dialogue about funding about resources for advocates. The government was happy to be on the receiving end of the dialogue. They also loved the idea of advocacy so much that sought to prescribe what it might be, they sought to say what type of advocacy could be used where and when but they remained ignorant about what advocacy is and what advocacy could be. They started consulting. They searched for agreement. They need to fulfill the requirements of legislation that should favour advocacy such as the mental health act which says all service users will have the right to an advocate. So it started with love. it became a resource issue and the resource as a cost.

The cost is compromise, is complicity, and for some this is compelling too.

For me the argument is still be had. It is clear that advocates do not feel as if they have been consulted. probably because our consultations have been like local authority consultations. We are telling you what you are having. You can say what you like. You are still having what we want to give you. Such is the nature of our active learning.

there is however, one more aspect of this that i find upsetting. Its the jobs for the boys malarkey. The consultants have consulted. the qualification is coming. Will the Trainers be the onsultants? Will the Trainers have any interest in bringing in the other view. Will unqualified advocates want to remain unqualified. Will their organisations be able to stump up the £1,000 or so to train them

But as the consultation over the framework continues it m ay be worth posting the results are our vote. Do you want an National Service framework? Yes 2. Undecided 14. No 1. Who could that be?

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