An independent advocate is a person who will assist people to understand information, express their needs and wishes, secure their rights, represent their interests and enable them to be fully involved in any of the following processes.
- a needs assessment
- a carer’s assessment
- the preparation of a care and support or support plan
- a review of a care and support or support plan
- a safeguarding enquiry or a safeguarding adult review
- an appeal against a local authority decision
An independent advocate will not make decisions for people but will support them in weighing up their options in order to help them make decisions.
Volunteer Independent Visiting and Advocacy (VIVA)
Volunteer Independent Visiting and Advocacy (VIVA) is an independent service, run by Oxfordshire County Council, providing children and young people with an independent visitor or advocate.
A guide for parents of children with special educational needs and disability (SEND) seeking support as part of the local offer.
Young people making decisions
Free eLearning course
This free eLearning course is for professionals to better understand advocacy
Our key aim is that social workers and other professionals will routinely consider advocacy and make referrals to services for children and adults for those that need advocacy.
The purpose of this eLearning is to show professionals:
- how advocacy helps people to have a voice and take part in decisions about their own lives
- the range of advocacy services available
- how to recognise when a person may benefit from advocacy
- how advocacy improves people’s outcomes
- who needs to be contacted for advocacy support and how to make a referral.
How to access the course
Oxfordshire County Council professionals should go to the intranet home page, select Learning, access the Learning Zone and search for 'Advocacy in Children’s and Adult’s Services: Giving People a Voice (E-Learning)'.
External professionals can find the course through the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board training section and searching for Raising awareness of advocacy. You will need to register and log into the system.