The Big Question

Karen Shook

Disability equality adviser

I favour independent advocates. It’s essential that service
users faced with life decisions have the skills of someone who
knows them and their situation. I am not convinced a consultee
would be able to make decisions on their own. Perhaps there should
be a choice of one or the other – or both.

Jean Stogdon

Carer and Grandparents Plus chair

If people are feeling weakened then they really want an
advocate. Most people want someone who is on their side. Why else
do people have lawyers? I strongly believe that people want
advocates because otherwise it’s not a level playing field. It’s
about strengthening people, isn’t it? 

Andy Doherty

Wheelchair user with learning difficulties

An advocate would be better for making sure a person’s views are
put forward. People can trust their advocate and the advocate knows
them over a long time. They would help and give them confidence.
Why do we need other people [independent consultees] putting their
views forward?

Joan Scott

Director of Action Unlimited

We have fought long and hard for advocates in the bill.
Independent consultees only go half-way. Few people would be able
to get one and their job would be different from an advocate. They
have only done this to save money. Other people have a right to
advocates so why can’t people with learning difficulties?   

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