advocacy conversation


The Keys to life Strategy emphasises the importance that the voices of people with learning disabilities are heard.

The Keys to life Recommendation 32 calls for SCLD to scope advocacy services in Scotland.

SCLD has now carried out this scoping exercise, which aimed to establish the levels of provision of independent advocacy for people with learning disabilities across Scotland, to assess its effectiveness and impact, and to identify levels of unmet need and barriers to access. We wanted to identify effective approaches or models of provision, as well as examples of good practice.

Key findings from this exercise include:

There appear to be substantial variations in the choices available to people with learning disabilities across different local authority areas.

Many people who have had an advocate report that their involvement was beneficial.

Reported benefits to having an advocate were often ‘soft outcomes’ such as feeling more confident about speaking up, feeling calmer, being listened to, having processes and rights explained, and having help to articulate views.

‘Hard outcomes’, such as having an identified problem resolved, were reported less often.

There are some gaps in provision of independent advocacy, and some doubt as to whether everyone with a learning disability understands their right to access advocacy services.

The report makes a number of recommendations under the following headings:

  • Increasing access to provision
  • Improving strategic planning and commissioning
  • Developing monitoring and evaluation practices, and;
  • Facilitating knowledge exchange and learning.

You can read our full Advocacy report which summarises this work here.

You can read a summary of the report’s key findings here.

You can read an easy read summary of the key findings here.