The rapid increase in advocacy over the past 20 years in the UK has been brought about by an increased awareness of human rights (Human Rights Act 1998) and society’s greater understanding of institutional care and community care which have all reinforced the opinion that marginalized groups in society should have their voices heard. In recent years Advocacy, has been given particular attention in government policies such as ‘Valuing people’ (DOH 2001) the Children Act (1989), the Health and Social Care Act (2001) and the Mental Capacity Act (2005) which has introduced the first statutory advocacy role with the Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA) service. The 2007 amendments to the Mental Health Act (1983) introduced the role of the Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA). IMHA’s are specialist advocates who are trained specifically to work within the framework of the Act, enabling detained patients to participate in decision-making. The Care Act (2014) has further promoted the role of Advocacy as a means by which marginalized groups in society can gain empowerment, autonomy, citizenship and inclusion. The history of citizen advocacy can be traced back to Wolfensbergers concepts of Normalisation and Social Role Valorisation (Wolfensberger 1972) and developed further in association with John O’Brien (Wolfensberger and O’Brien 1979) as a means of addressing the social devaluation of people with learning difficulties.
Stockport Advocacy’s roots are firmly embedded in the Citizen advocacy model, in fact to this day we are fortunate enough to have a band of noble and highly valued volunteers, who strive “via a range of differing means” to walk alongside a person who otherwise would have no-one unpaid in their lives. Our volunteers provide everything from stability to resourcefulness to common sense to ensure a normal ordinary life is achievable.
Stockport Total Advocacy trust was formed in November 2004 as a result of a successful funding bid to the Department of Health on the back of the White Paper ‘Valuing People’. This paper acknowledged that many people with learning disabilities are pushed to the margins of society. Therefore historically; people with learning disabilities living in Stockport have been our priority for advocacy support
In April 2015 we were awarded the Care Act Advocacy Contract from Stockport Council (which incorporates Care Act, Independent Mental Health Act and NHS Complaints Advocacy) to supply “statutory advocacy” for vulnerable and marginalised people within the Stockport Borough. Please see “services” for more information on this.