What is an Advocate?
An advocate is a person who, with the authority of the person, represents the individual's interests.
People may use an advocate of their choice to negotiate on their behalf. This may be a family member, friend or advocacy service.
Advocates will be accepted by SOLAS as representing the interests of the person.
Advocates may be used during assessments, reviews, complaint processes or for any other communication between the person and SOLAS.
Procedure for Appointing an Advocate
People wishing to use an advocate should inform SOLAS in writing of the name of the person they wish to nominate to negotiate on their behalf. The person has the right to change their advocate at any time and should inform SOLAS in writing of any change.
Staff members will ensure that people are aware of their right to use an advocate, and will regularly remind people of this option. This information is available in the Service Users Handbook and will be explained at formal assessments and reviews and through informal discussion.
SOLAS staff members will receive training in the use of advocates.
Guidelines for Advocates
BEING AN ‘ADVOCATE'
If a service user of SUPPORTED OPTIONS IN LIFESTYLE AND ACCESS SERVICES INC. (SOLAS) has asked you to be their advocate, this means they would like you to act on their behalf in their dealings with the service. You may be a family member or friend of the person or a member of an advocacy service.
Being an advocate may mean your attendance or involvement will be required during assessments and reviews of the person's situation and services received, or if the person wishes to communicate or negotiate anything with the service or lodge a complaint about the service.
We ask our service users to complete an ‘Authority to Act as an Advocate Form' when they wish to appoint or change their advocate. Service users are free to change their advocates whenever they wish, however, we request a new authority form be completed each time so that staff members are always clear on who the service users advocate is.
As an advocate of a service user we ask you to be aware of the following and ensure that:
- the service user has given their written authority for you to act as their advocate;
- the service is aware that you are acting as the service users advocate;
- you always act in the best interests of the service user;
- the service user is aware of any issues and developments in relation to the services they receive and which you, as their advocate, may be involved in;
- the service user is kept informed of any developments;
- you are familiar with the contents of the Service Users Handbook and the details of the service users Individual Service Support Plan (ISSP);
- you encourage the service user to provide feedback to you about the services they are receiving;
- you advise the service about any changes in service user circumstances and any concerns about changing their individual needs;
- you are prepared to relinquish the role of advocate should the service user wish this.