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“Although the service is not a problem-solver, the advocacy service seems to provide the necessary communication and support needed by service users in furthering their direction; when the direction becomes problematic or when time is needed for discussion, the advocacy service gives that without hastiness or bias, therefore giving confidence to the service user in making decisions.”
(Mental Health Officer)

What we do

DIAS is funded by NHS Tayside and Dundee City Council Social Work Department to provide independent advocacy.  This is under the proviso that DIAS are required to operate without ‘conflicts of interest’, which means anything that gets in the way of an advocate being completely loyal to their advocacy partner.  This core funding has allowed us to apply for new development funding such as peer advocacy, collective advocacy and an Information & Advocacy Helpline for Older People in Dundee. 

The term ‘advocacy’ in itself is not a protected term but ‘independent advocacy’ is.  We work within a ‘Code of Practice’, produced by the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance whereby we share the same core Principles to other Independent Advocacy organisations and these are:

Principle 1: Independent advocacy puts the people who use it first

Principle 2: Independent advocacy is accountable

Principle 3: Independent advocacy is as free as it can be from conflicts of interest

Principle 4: Independent advocacy is accessible

Within these core beliefs, we operate with a defined set of Standards and Indicators which form our approach to working with our communities most vulnerable groups.

Rather than outline these standards and indicators in detail, we have, instead provided case studies of how our professional advocates work with individuals.  Under our volunteering section, we have asked our volunteers to provide their thoughts and feelings on volunteering with DIAS.

If you wish to find out more about the Code of Practice, Principles and Standards, then please visit the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance website at: http://www.siaa.org.uk/

DIAS mainly follows a citizen advocacy model. Citizen advocates are ordinary members of the community who have received induction training and are supported by paid staff. They work with people on a one-to-one basis, listening to their point of view, respecting their wishes and helping them to speak up for themselves. Some of our Citizen Advocates have been with DIAS since the very beginning, supporting vulnerable individuals in our local community with complex needs.  However, we are currently working with new volunteers who have completed our suite of training and are actively recruiting for more.  If you are interested, please do complete a Volunteer application form and forward to veronica@diasdundee.org  You will be assured of a warm welcome and continuous support from DIAS and other more experienced Citizen Advocates.

DIAS is also involved in professional advocacy.  This involves short or long term support for people on specific issues. Within professional advocacy we work with individuals who come under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, and work within the Adult Support & Protection (Scotland) Act 2007.  We accept referrals for our services either from individuals themselves, family members or statutory providers.  We can do this over the telephone or by asking the referrer to complete a form found on our REFERRAL section.

DIAS also conducts collective advocacy sessions within care homes for older people, mental health units and houses of multiple occupation.  This is where a group of people who are all facing a common problem get together to support each other over specific issues with the professional advocates support.  Being part of a group can help to reduce an individual’s sense of isolation when raising a difficult issue.  If you would like to know more about this service, please do contact DIAS office on 01382 205515 or email: office@diasdundee.org

DIAS is fortunate to run a peer advocacy group.  Our Peer Advocates all share significant life experiences where they use their own experiences to understand and empathise with their advocacy partner.  This model is similar to our citizen advocacy model as outlined above. Peer advocacy works to increase self-awareness, confidence and assertiveness so that the individual can speak out for themselves, lessening the imbalance of power between the advocate and their advocacy partner.  During 2013, we hope to develop a best practice guide on how to involve, support and guide individuals from the learning disabled community in becoming Peer Advocates.  If you would like further information or are interested in setting up your own Peer Advocacy group, please do contact veronica@diasdundee.org for more information.


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