Advocacy guides to sort out complaints

Looked-after children’s organisations have broadly welcomed
government guidance on how to implement advocacy services for
children in care.
Get it Sorted outlines how councils should introduce
policies making advocacy services a right for all children in need
by April 2004.

It recommends that councils introduce independent and easily
accessible advocacy services with the emphasis on speedy resolution
once a complaint has been made in a non-confrontational way.

John Kemmis, chairperson of the National Children’s Advocacy
Consortium and chief executive of charity Voice of the Child in
Care, said the provision for children to initially raise concerns
informally was a positive step because many found formal
investigations intimidating.

The proposal for informal resolutions to be completed within 14
days was realistic in less complex cases, Kemmis added. Formal
procedures would begin if a matter remained unresolved after this.

However, he said that the document was ambiguous about its
requirements for independent advocacy services for looked-after
children. The guidance suggests these could be provided by
“in-house” children’s rights services.

Under the proposals, councils must tell children about advocacy
services when they enter the care system; allow children to request
a relative, teacher, friend or carer to be their advocate; and
consider ethnic, gender and cultural differences when assigning an

Alex Sykes, a care leaver and member of A National Voice, welcomed
plans to use more child-friendly communications such as text
messaging. However, he said more should be included on

Get it Sorted is out for consultation until 31 December.
Available from

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