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Joe’s Soapbox, November 2019

author icon author icon 21/11/2019 author icon Joe's Soapbox

The fight for self-advocacy

All Wales People First are very concerned about self-advocacy.

And the problems it faces.

Since the end of the Advocacy Grant Scheme self-advocacy has faced an uncertain future.

This is because some authorities don’t understand the difference between advocacy and self-advocacy.

And because of Independent Professional Advocacy Contracts (IPA).

IPA contracts say authorities should fund advocacy.

But isn’t as clear about self-advocacy.

Some regions in Wales are putting their advocacy budget into one.

And using this to fund all advocacy for everyone.

This will mean no specialist self-advocacy for people with learning disabilities.

If we lose self-advocacy our members lose their voice.

It would mean that people with learning disabilities might have to rely on other people to speak for them.

Such as:

  • Parents
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Support workers
  • Advocates

The Social Services and Well Being Wales Act says that people themselves should be at the centre of the important decisions that affect their lives.

Without self-advocacy this can’t happen.

We are very concerned about this.

And we have been working hard to fix this.

I have spoken at Regional Partnership Boards across Wales with National Council representatives about this.

I have sent a report about self-advocacy to the Golden Thread of Advocacy to help them with their work.

They will make suggestions to Welsh Government.

I have written to First Minister Mark Drakeford about this.

He has put me in touch with the technical group looking at advocacy.

We have met with them.

They seem to understand.

We have another meeting with them soon.

We have put a consultation to groups to ask them for ideas to help Welsh Government to solve this problem.

Members will feed this back at the National Council meeting in January 2020 in North Wales.

We have invited the lead of the advocacy technical group to hear this feedback.

I am also presenting a strategy to our Board of Directors.

Of actions we might need to take if self-advocacy continues to struggle.

We are very determined to fight for self-advocacy.

And to help local groups in any way we can.

We will not give up the fight.


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