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"Your Say" - Code of Practice


The purpose of this code of practice is to establish and maintain agreed standards for the Advocates who work for 'Your Say' Advocacy service and to inform and protect those individuals, groups and agencies who seek and use the services.

All those working within the structure of 'Your Say' Advocacy service are required to abide by this current code of practice as it applies to them.

We recognise that no one document can hope to address all the issues which may arise, as a result we hope that this code of practice can provide a framework for encouraging best practice and would refer to other policies and procedures as required, including the Equal Opportunites Policy and Complaints Procedure.

The Nature of Advocacy

The overall aim of Advocacy is to provide people with learning disabilites a service and structure which supports and enables them individually and as a group to have a greater voice and say in their daily lives and specifically in the decision making affecting their lives.

At 'Your Say' we believe that Advocacy is not the exclusive domain of 1:1 relationships, but is also achieved through groupwork and through service user led forums and service evaluations.

At 'Your Say' we are committed to providing creative responses to Advocacy needs.

In all cases Advocacy involves a specific agreement and contract between the commissioners and 'Your Say' and between 'Your Say' and it's Advocates as well as between the individual or group and their Advocates.

Equal Opportunites

All Advocates are required to abide by the Equal opportunities Policy Statement prepared by 'Your Say'.

Code of Practice

This code is divided into 7 areas, and these 7 sections represent the principals by which work is commissioned and undertaken.

1.Values: The Advocates who work for 'Your Say' do so with the underpinning values of equality, respect, independence and integrity.

2. Responsibility: The Advocate is responsible for ensuring they work in a manner which protects the individual or groups physical and emotional safety.

3. Anti-discriminatory Practice: All Advocates will work in a manner which ensures that personal prejudice and stereotyping is eliminated from their practice.

4. Confidentiality: Advocates will receive supervision from their Manager and at these sessions casework will be discussed. Advocates and the Advocacy office will ensure that this supervisory arrangement is shared with the individual or group at the commencement of work.

In all other circumstances the relationship between the Advocate and the individual or group will respect confidentiality as a matter of good practice, and this will only be breached where it is considered that there is a risk to the individuals or others safety.

In all circumstances where a breach of confidence occures, the individual or group will be notified as to why this action has occured.

5. Contracts: 'Your Say' acknowledges that as most Advocates have professional and working links with other agencies and services providing services to people with learning disabilities, that there is some risk of conflicts of interest arising, and 'Your Say' endeavours to ensure that these are managed and not allowed to impact on the service offered. However 'Your Say' also notes that each Advocate works to this code of practice and are able to work in a professional manner which should obviate such conflicts arising.

All new referrals will be made through the 'Your Say' office and not between individuals, groups or agencies and individual Advocates.

6. Boundaries: 'Your Say' and the Avdvocates work closely at all times to ensure that responsible boundaries are maintained between themselves and the individuals, groups and commissioning agencies.

Advocates are responsible for recognising the effects of overlapping boundaries and will notify the 'Your Say' office immediatly where such overlapping or pre-existing relationships exist in order that appropriate steps can be taken to avoid situations detailed above regarding conflicts of interests.

7. Competence: It is the shared responsibility of 'Your Say' and the Advocates to ensure that they are competent to undertake the Advocacy service provided.

AllAdvocates will receive regular supervision in respect of their case work and personal development through the 'Your Say' office.

Training will be identified as a service requirement and as individual requirement and this too will be the shared responsibility of the 'Your Say' service and the individual Advocates.