Advocate’s Code of Practice
The following Code of Practice should be used by Advocates to guide them in their advocacy partnership. The principles and practices in this code are explained more fully in the sections of the Best Practice Guide and relevant policies.
Advocates should work towards not being needed. Their client should be encouraged to take as much control over the partnership as possible. Advocates should recognise that they may be an influence on their client and work to avoid such influence. Whenever they speak for their client they should represent their client’s interests as if they were their own.
In the partnership advocates should always maintain their loyalty to their client above all else, they should avoid conflicts of interest and if any such conflicts arise declare them immediately so that they maintain their independence.
Advocates should make it clear to all concerned that they will never keep information from their client.
Advocates are expected to keep the things they discuss with their client confidential. If an advocate has to tell someone else something that their client has told them in private, a disclosure of abuse for example, then they should always tell their client that they have to do this. [See Confidentiality
Policy, Data Protection Policy, and No Secrets Policy]
Advocates should always treat people fairly and equally. They should take all necessary measures to ensure that their client is not treated unfairly because of language, culture, capacity or disability. [See Equal Opportunities Policy]
The partnership does not have to be limited to issues which the client brings up. Advocates should also initiate action on their client’s human rights, especially where these are not recognised by their client. This should include involving their client in their local community so that they develop relationships with other people who will defend their rights.
Advocates should work as efficiently as possible, to avoid wasting scarce resources but more importantly to show their client how seriously they take their case. Advocates should seek to resolve problems effectively, in most cases this will mean seeking to resolve problems at the lowest level of an organisation.
Advocates should also work tenaciously for their client. They should not allow themselves to be ‘fobbed off’ by others and be aware of strategies to avoid this. Their client’s interests should be pursued assertively.
Advocates should always be prepared to safeguard their client’s rights and emotional and physical safety. They should recognise the potential harm that they themselves could do to their client and therefore never promise anything that they have no control over. Equally advocates should not feel that they have to do anything which makes them feel unsafe and when working on their own should ensure that they have arranged to make contact with a colleague to ensure their safety. [See Adult Protection Policy and Lone Working Policy]
Advocates should be accountable first and foremost to their client.
As part of their work for Deaf Positives Action, Advocates should take advantage of any opportunities to network with other advocacy organisations, attend conferences and get involved in improving services for people at a strategic level. They should share any relevant information they get with other advocates and Deaf Positives Action.
Advocates should balance the need to work effectively for their client by being known and trusted by service providers with the more important need to maintain their independence. A certain amount of tension in relationships with service providers may be necessary.
Any relationship that could compromise an Advocate’s first loyalty to their client should be declared to the manager as a potential conflict of interest.
Advocates should be clear in their own minds and make it clear to their client that they are there to provide advocacy not counselling, befriending or substitutes for support or social work. Advocates should ensure that the relationship with their client is conducted on a friendly but professional basis.
Advocates should not accept gifts, other than Thank-you cards, from their clients. Any offers of gifts should be politely refused. [See Gifts Policy]
Advocates should note that the Disciplinary Procedure will be put into practice where this Code of Practice is deliberately and/or persistently ignored.