Author Archives: Michelle Knox

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Talking Mats – simple steps to communication

Earlier this year, we were really pleased to meet our target to train all our advocacy workers in Talking Mats. This was a big achievement for us – training involves 2 full days (with homework!) so it has taken a fair bit of commitment from the organisation and the staff members to get us to this point. So why’s that so important to us? Well one of the key principles underpinning everything we do is that people should be involved in decisions that affect them. All decisions, no matter how big (where they live, how they spend their money) or how small (what tv they watch, what they have for their breakfast). It’s the job of an advocate to help people share their views as much as they can. But it’s not always that simple for people to say how they feel – there are so many things that can put a barrier in the way for people, including disability or health conditions that impact on a person’s capacity to communicate. Talking Mats is one method to try to navigate around some of these barriers. It’s a really simple but effective tool for a person to communicate how they feel about particular subjects Continue Reading >

New Credit Rated Scottish Advocacy Practitioner Qualification

 The Advocacy Project are proud to announce the launch of a new practice qualification for independent advocates. Following collaboration with Edinburgh Napier University Credit Rating Team and the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework, the new qualification ‘The Professional Practice Award’ (PPA) is now being undertaken by 16 advocates at The Advocacy Project. Over the next 9 months another 20 advocates will be joining the program. The PPA has been developed by us and is about advocacy and individual rights in Scotland and is open firstly to advocates at The Advocacy Project and later this year to the SIAA advocacy sector in Scotland. The PPA has been credit rated by Edinburgh Napier and is a great opportunity for advocates to get a formal Scottish qualification in advocacy. To find out more of have a chat about the PPA contact Gerry McGuire at the Advocacy Project.             

Advocacy support curbs disability poverty risk

The Advocacy Project have been involved in a pilot that shows the benefit of independent advocacy support during social security assessments. The Welfare Advocacy Support  Project has shown the value of expert advocacy support for disabled people and people with long term conditions during assessments for Personal Independence Payment and Work Capability Assessments. The Advocacy Project has been attending disability benefit assessments alongside over 220 people with mental health problems, learning disabilities or neurological conditions. The advocate supports people to understand the process, and to properly communicate the impact of their health issues or disability on their lives. Many people who received support through the project had previously had poor experiences of assessments which had raised their levels of stress and anxiety about what lay ahead. Afghanistan veteran John [not his real name] told the evaluation about the difference between his experience this time, and previous assessments when he had walked out, angered by what he felt was intrusive questioning: “I would have lost the head if the advocate hadn’t been there, I expected to, to be honest. Him being there helped calm me down, he was watching me for the signs, and every time I started to get wound up, he’d butt Continue Reading >

Keys To Life – Support to Report Hate Crime Project

The Advocacy Project were pleased to receive funding from the Scottish Government’s  Keys to Life Development Fund for our ‘Support to Report Project’. Disability Hate Crime is dangerous and unacceptable. We know that there is a lot of hate crime that is targeted at people with disabilities that goes unreported. Police Scotland are keen to encourage people to report disability hate crime so they can tackle this problem. Our Support to Report group are coming to 3rd Party Reporting Centres across Greater Glasgow and Lanarkshire to talk about Disability Hate Crime and how to best support someone if they want to report an incident to the police. If your organisation is a 3rd Party Reporting Centre and you would like us to come along to talk to staff or volunteers, just give Michelle or Ann a phone on 0141 420 0961.         

National Hate Crime Awareness Week

Did you know it’s National Hate Crime Awareness Week? Across the country events will be happening to spread the word that abuse targeted at someone because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or because they have a disability or are transgender is a crime and will not be tolerated in Scotland. As a third party reporting centre, we want to do what we can to support this message. So we headed along to Central Station in Glasgow this morning for the launch of the week’s activities in Glasgow and the announcement that Glasgow Central Station is the first transport hub in Glasgow to become a third party reporting centre. This means that travellers coming through the station no longer have to find a police officer if they have been subjected to or have witnessed a hate crime. Now they can approach any staff member who will be able to support them to report it. Keep an eye out for the campaign over the next week and you can find out more about third party reporting on the Police Scotland website.  

New Guidance on Advocacy for Professionals

The Mental Welfare Commission has published a new Guide to Working with Advocates. This useful guide clarifies the right to advocacy and highlights good practice in regard to ensuring someone has the support they need.

Welfare Advocacy Support Pilot – Evidence to the Scottish Government

This week the Scottish Government’s Welfare Reform Committee heard evidence on the future delivery of Social Security in Scotland. Andrew Strong from the ALLIANCE gave evidence along with a number of representatives from disability organisations on how welfare reform can be improved when parts of it are devolved in 2017. Andrew spoke about the importance of advocacy support and the difference it can make to individuals going through the assessment process. Andrew was able to cite evidence from the pilot about how having advocacy support before and during the process directly affects the outcomes for people which in turn not only reduces the claimants’ stress and distress and but also reduces the need for appeals. We hope that the importance of independent advocacy support for people going through welfare assessments will be recognised in future Scottish proposals on devolved welfare powers.

New MWC report on Enhanced Observation on Mental Health Wards

The Mental Welfare Commission have published a new report on Enhanced Observations on mental health wards. The report is based on visits to wards across Scotland over the past few months where the MWC have spoke to patients, health professionals named persons. The report reiterates the need for access to independent advocacy, particularly for those under enhanced observations to ensure their rights are being upheld.

Mental Welfare Commission to collate info on access to advocacy

The Advocacy Project welcomes the news that The Mental Health Bill, which was passed by Government this week, has tasked the Mental Welfare Commission to collate and report on access to independent advocacy across Scotland. This has been the result of a lobbying campaign, led by the Scottish Independence Advocacy Alliance, to ensure that the voice of service users continues to be at the heart of the care and treatment they receive. You can read more about this here: MWC welcomes new powers  

SIAA Independent Advocacy, Supporting the SDS Journey

A few of our workers went along to the SIAA’s conference on how useful advocacy can be to help people through the Self Directed Support process. It was really interesting to hear some perspectives on SDS and how it is being rolled out across the country. Thanks to the SIAA for hosting this event!

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