Our Advocacy work extends beyond supporting individual people. We draw on a wealth of information from case work to identify issues and trends and to campaign and influence policies and services at a regional and national level.
We use data and information from our case work to provide informed responses to local and national policy change consultation. An example of policy we have influenced includes:
- Mental Health Act white paper 2021
- Ministry of Justice - Victim’s Law ‘delivering justice for victims’ consultation 2021
- Equality and Human Right’s Commission - Inquiry into challenging decisions about adult social care 2021
- National Development Team on Inclusion – review into advocacy within inpatient settings for people with learning disability and autism 2021
- Adult Social Care reform 2021
- Ministerial Oversight Group on Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation 2021
- Development of Liberty Protection Safeguards and advocacy role 2021
- Office of the Public Guardian – reform of the Lasting Power Of Attorney 2021
- Office of Police and Crime Commissioner – Understanding needs of victims in the Police and Crime plan 2021-25
- Care Quality Commission - Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation review 2021
- Law Commission – review of Hate Crime legislation 2021
- Chief Social Workers Office – review of Care Act Easements and Coronavirus Act 2020
- NHS England – Impact of Brexit on health and social care (impact on mental health service users) 2019
- Gender Recognition Act 2018
- Ministry of Justice – Digital Strategy 2017
- Law Commission – Review of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards 2017
- Mental Health Act review 2017
Connected Voice Advocacy holds seats on local decision making boards and draws on case studies and demographic data from project delivery to shape local services.
- Safeguarding Adults Board Newcastle
- Safeguarding Adults Board Gateshead
- Victim and Witness Service Improvement Board (Office of Police and Crime Commissioner Northumbria)
- Trans Lives North East Steering Group
- Liberty Protection Safeguards national focus group for advocacy
From time to time Connected Voice Advocacy is asked to take part in discreet projects and we take part where this will impact and benefit the people we work with eg:
- Newcastle University Student Law Centre - Street Law project to simplify legislation and produce tools for people we work with
- NHS Foundation Trust Life limiting illness research programme – to contribute to learning and support materials
- Inclusion in census – to ensure people we work with are included and counted in the census
- Inclusion in local elections – to ensure people we work with are given the opportunity and help to vote
- Newcastle University Independent Mental Health Advocates experiences of supporting patients in Mental Health Tribunal video hearings 2021
Connected Voice Advocacy gets involved in research which will impact and benefit the people we work with eg:
- Advocacy Mapping - we were commissioned by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Trust and Inclusion North to map statutory advocacy service provision across the North East and Cumbria for the benefit of service users, patients and multi-agency working (report published August 2022)
- Hate relationships - we have been involved in research by Durham and Northumbria Universities into the concept of 'Hate Relationships', exploring new ways of thinking about repeated experiences of hate. Research report Exploring ‘hate relationships’ through Connected Voice’s Hate Crime Advocacy Service published June 2021. In our film Hate relationships: New understandings of hate crime, (released November 2021), victim/survivors talk about their experiences of hate relationships, the impact on them and the difference support from our Hate Crime Advocacy service has made.
Reports and Evaluations
Connected Voice Advocacy's work is also included in key reports and evaluations in the field, such as:
- Participatory Evaluation Report of Neurological Advocacy Service, led by Barefoot Research and Evaluation with active participation from service users - documenting the service from 2015 to 2018 (funded by The National Lottery Community Fund)
Leaders in Advocacy Network
Connected Voice Advocacy is proud to have been a founder member of this network which came together in response to the pandemic, with a dozen people participating in our first meeting in March 2020. Since then, more than 50 advocacy organisations and 100 people who lead them, have contributed to the network which is facilitated by advocacy provider Voiceability. Meeting monthly this group has worked collectively to better support people who use advocacy services, and taken on initiatives, led campaigns and tackled critical issues faced by health and social care sector. This network has provided a single point of contact for government departments to engage with the advocacy sector which has increased our collective influence and voice.
Achievements so far include:
- Sharing operational guidance on how to deliver advocacy services during the lockdowns
- Establishing a set of operating principles
- Clarifying that advocates were essential key-workers (with rights and responsibilities)
- Publicising people’s continued rights to social care support and to advocacy while debunking misunderstandings, and demonstrating through a comprehensive survey and report the impact of the pandemic on people’s voices and rights.
- Provided a collective response to the consultation on Mental Health Act reforms.
- Honest review of the advocacy sector and how we work, and tackling difficult issue to work together to improve and foster systemic change such as:
- Reviews of advocacy support to autistic people and people with learning disabilities in restrictive settings.
- Reviews of racial justice, equity, inclusion, and cultural competence in advocacy.
- Preparation for the Liberty Protection Safeguards
- Contributed to the Department of Health and Social Care’s Social Care White Paper
- Engaged with policy makers around changes to social care and health e.g. CQC, NHS England and Improvement, DHSC and EHRC and others.