When working with an advocate, it’s important people can be assured the service they’re receiving is of a high standard. Advocates play a crucial role in helping people make important decisions about their lives, sharing key information and supporting people to articulate their needs. This means the role comes with a lot of responsibility – so advocacy providers should be able to demonstrate the quality of their work.
One of the ways that we do this is through the Advocacy Quality Performance Mark (QPM). The QPM is awarded to organisations who can show they provide excellent services, meeting the requirements of the Advocacy Charter and the QPM standards. The QPM looks at an organisation’s approach to some of the most important aspects of advocacy, such as independence, safeguarding and providing person-led services.
We’ve recently taken part in the QPM assessment process and had our Advocacy Quality Performance Mark renewed. There are two separate reports from the assessment, which you can view using the links below:
- Desktop Assessment, which includes a review of our policies and procedures as well as a selection of case notes and reports
- Site Visit Report, which includes the assessor’s comments following meetings with staff, service users and other stakeholders
We were particularly pleased to see feedback showing the quality of our advocacy and the value people are getting from using our service. The assessor noted:
“The people interviewed who use The Advocacy Project’s services were very complimentary about the advocacy team, stressing the friendliness and caring nature of individual advocates, and was very appreciative of the support they receive. All unequivocally said they recommend the services to others.”
“The Advocacy Project operates an open and highly inclusive values-based approach to leadership, with a trusting management style ensuring everyone is kept aware of and consulted upon organisational changes and developments, values, aims, objectives and achievements.”
“I found those advocates interviewed to be wholly committed to the people they serve, enthusiastic and supportive of the organisational changes recently introduced. The Advocacy Project has close‐knit and very supportive advocacy teams, willing to continue to learn from best practice and able to help each other with the day‐to‐day business of providing good advocacy services to the people they serve.”
The report also highlighted our approach to equality and diversity, and to person-centred work:
“The Advocacy Project is a diverse organisation with representation across all equality strands in its board of trustees, staff and people who have accessed the service representation. In addition a high number of staff have lived experience of mental health, and physical disabilities.”
“Throughout the assessment procedure it was evident that the principles of empowerment and being person led are at the heart of The Advocacy Project’s Advocacy Services.”
“I am impressed with the level of your service user involvement work, in particular having service users of the board and on recruitment panels including forensic settings.”
Getting this type of feedback from external experts who are highly regarded in the field means we can feel confident our teams are offering a high standard of advocacy. It also helps identify areas where we can offer even better services. While we’re constantly evaluating our own work and processes, bringing in an experienced assessor gives an outside perspective on our work.
It also brings the importance of quality to the front of mind – which is vital when the work that our advocates do has such a big impact on people’s lives. Watch the ‘How advocacy makes a difference’ animation to see some of the ways that advocacy can make a difference to people.
If you would like to know more about QPM and how it’s used to assess advocacy services, visit their website.