Advocacy services

A review of the experiences people have had within advocacy service provided in County Durham has been undertaken. The engagement activity was designed in conjunction with key local partners - Healthwatch County Durham and Inclusion North.

Durham County Council has a duty to ensure people have access to appropriate advocacy services which specifically includes two aspects of advocacy support:

  • Care Act Advocacy

For individuals who require support under the 2014 Care Act to participate with the local authority care and support process and/or

  • Community Advocacy

Wider non-statutory support to enable individuals to say what they want, secure their rights and represent their interests and obtain the services they need but who don’t meet the criteria for a statutory form of advocacy

Through working collaboratively with our community partners a targeted approach to the conversations with people who had used the Advocacy services was devised. These partners also undertook the engagement activities with individuals who have used the service and family carers on our behalf. This approach was used to help ensure there was a clear distinction between those undertaking the engagement and the provision of advocacy services.

A range of approaches were provided which included a series of outreach sessions at sites in the County where users of the advocacy service are being supported, direct letters out to individuals plus one to one conversations were undertaken in a range of settings.

The levels of response received were not as high at it was originally hoped, however you can see the information that was collected in the engagement report. Despite this, the information that came back was able to provide a quality insight into individuals experiences and indicate where there were key themes and lessons to be learnt.  

The findings from the engagement have already been able to make direct improvements to the local ways of working. These have included the implementation of weekly drop-in sessions at identified local service sites as well as specific plans regarding training and awareness raising for frontline staff in relation to the local Advocacy support available.