17 October, 2018:

Safeguarding Ireland hosted a Roundtable on Advocacy attended by up to 100 experts and practitioners from across the social care, health and community sector. The purpose was to have an informed debate about advocacy services in Ireland – their nature and extent and how they interface with the service delivery, policy-making and legislative structures.

Legislative changes recently introduced, or in the process of being introduced, provide a context for independent advocacy provision.

These include:

  • The Assisted Decision-making (Capacity) Act 2015 makes provision for the Director of the Decision Support Service to prepare and publish a code of practice for the guidance of persons acting as advocates on behalf of relevant persons.
  • The Adult Safeguarding Bill 2017 provides for the establishment of a National Safeguarding Authority which can arrange for a person who is independent (an ‘independent advocate’) to be available to represent and support an individual.
  • The proposed Deprivation of Liberty / Protection of Liberty legislation is aimed at ensuring that people are not unlawfully deprived of their liberty and is intended to provide safeguards for people in instances in which they are living in, or it is proposed that they will live in, a residential facility and there is reason to believe they lack the capacity to decide to live there.
  • The ratification by Ireland of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the establishment within the Department of Health of the National Patient Safety Office and the development by that office of a Patient Complaints and Advocacy Policy and a National Patient Advocacy Service are important and relevant developments.
  • The ongoing work of Safeguarding Ireland, together with the evolving roles of HIQA, the Office of the Ombudsman and emergence of the Decision Support Service provide the backdrop for exploring the nature and role of independent advocacy in Ireland and for identifying a framework for its future development.
Materials
A number of information resources were developed as part of the Roundtable event and these are available below:

Further Information

Ronan Cavanagh, Safeguarding Ireland / Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731[email protected] / T: @safeguardingire #safeguardingire / F:  www.facebook.com/safeguardingire