We are concerned about IPA contracts.
IPA stands for Independent Professional Advocacy Contracts.
These contracts say that advocates should be provided.
But there is no extra money to do this.
Which means some local authorities might have to provide one advocacy organisation to do all advocacy.
Which means no specialist learning disability advocacy.
And worse still.
There is no statutory duty to provide self-advocacy.
Statutory means that they have to do it.
Which means there might not be enough money to pay for self-advocacy.
If this happens then it means that people with learning disabilities will lose their voice.
Or have to depend on others to speak for them.
This will mean that people with learning disabilities lose power and control.
Which goes against the principles of the Social Services and Well Being Wales Act.
All Wales People First are very concerned about this.
And we have been trying to do something about this.
We wrote to Rebecca Evans AM when she was the minster for Social Services and Public Health.
She told us to speak to Regional Partnership Boards.
We did that.
We have written to ministers and tried to put this on the agenda at the Learning Disability Ministerial Advisory Group (LDMAG) but we weren’t allowed to.
We have spoken to local self-advocacy groups about the way the IPA contracts are affecting them.
We are going to put this in a report and send it to the Golden Thread of Advocacy project.
They will include this information in a report to send to Welsh Government.
The Golden thread of advocacy have also produced a survey monkey poll about advocacy.
This has also been sent to the local self-advocacy groups in Wales.
I am also a member of the Golden Thread of Advocacy steering group.
I gave a presentation to them about self-advocacy and IPA.
I am also speaking about this at their National Conference in Powys in September.
We are hoping to prove the important role of self-advocacy through AdFest and our Regional Councils.
Which are both part of our new MIRROR Strategy.
By putting people with self-advocacy together with service providers and local authorities we can prove how important self-advocacy is.
It is important we don’t lose our voice.
And our voice is used to make a positive change.
We will not give up on this fight.
Whatever the outcome.