Welsh Government launch consultation on the regulation of Advocacy Services

The Welsh Government have launched their consultation which seeks views on new regulations which place requirements on service providers and responsible individuals of certain advocacy services in Wales.

These are advocacy services arranged by local authorities under their duty to assist children, looked after children and certain types of care leavers in making representation about their needs for care and support.

Welsh Government are also seeking views on draft statutory guidance to accompany the regulations.

For more information, to find out about information events and to respond to the consultation, please see

The consultation closes on 16th August 2018

Announcing 3 new Assessors

We are thrilled to announce that we have three new assessors joining our team!

Kath Parson (who is retiring from OPAAL at the end of June), Nicola Youens (previously Head of Quality and Service Development at VoiceAbility)  and Jon Ralphs will be joining the rest of the QPM team for a training session on the new QPM resources in June.

They all look forward to supporting you with your upcoming QPM assessments!

New version of the QPM Award launched…

QPM Award We have developed v4 of the QPM following:

  • Feedback from organisations we have supported through the QPM assessment process over the last 3 and a half years
  • Survey responses from 92 organisations
  • Three co-production sessions, attended by representatives from 36 advocacy organisations across England and Wales (a further 2 organisations provided feedback separately as they were unable to attend the events)
  • Steering Group Support: of 13 external partners
  • Piloting the updated QPM with two organisations, one in England and one in Wales

Our aim was to update the QPM to ensure its continued effectiveness in supporting a diverse advocacy sector deliver high quality independent advocacy provision.

We wanted to:

  • Maintain the rigour and robust approach of previous versions whilst reducing repetition and administrative burden
  • Ensure that the QPM is relevant for all forms on one to one advocacy delivery.
  • Retain a desktop followed by site visit assessment model
  • Maintain a balance between supporting service development and ‘audit’
  • Maintain a fundamental link to the Advocacy Charter
  • increase transparency

This version builds on the previous 3 and aimed to address some particular issues.

The steering group and co-production sessions enabled us to think through with the sector some particular issues:

  1. Should there be multiple modules to respond to different models of statutory and non-statutory advocacy, or should there be one QPM assessment that assesses an entirety of an organisations delivering?
  2. Should we have a ‘graded’ QPM award, or should QPM be a ‘standard’ award?

At the Steering Group initial meeting it was felt that the Advocacy Charter should also be refreshed and so we also looked at the Charter at each of the three C-Production sessions.

Outcomes from the Co-Production sessions confirmed the views of the Steering Group, these being that

  1. There should be one QPM that assesses the entirety of an organisations’ advocacy delivery.  Multiple modules would increase cost and be repetitive as well as increasing the risk of different advocacy disciplines being seen as more different than they really are.  When we looked in details at what needs to be different in terms of assessment for different advocacy disciplines it was felt that additional modules weren’t particularly helpful.  So, whilst as an organisation your operation of different elements of your advocacy service may be different, e.g. the way you ensure people refer to your IMHA service vs your IMCA service etc, the question QPM needs to ask of an organisation is do you do it and how?
  2. There should be one QPM award. An organisation will gain QPM when the can demonstrate that all of their advocacy delivery meets the QPM standards.  The QPM as a quality assurance framework is more of a health check than anything else, one member of the steering group came up with a good analogy, “QPM is liking passing your driving test, you don’t pass if you can do everything except roundabouts”

The Co-Production Groups (along with people those we spoke to at the National Advocacy Conference in October 17) expressed the need to be cautious in redeveloping the Advocacy Charter.  People felt that it could be further strengthened in some areas, but that ultimately the Principles were right.  You will see the updated Charter is almost identical to the last, with some Principles having been strengthened and some consolidated.  An accessible poster will follow in due course as well as a version in Welsh.

The Outcome

  1. Maintain the rigour and robust approach of previous versions whilst reducing repetition and administrative burden, retaining a Desktop and Site visit approach: The updated QPM has been streamlined with 4 stages having been reduced to 3.  We have also worked hard to reduce repletion in the workbook.  We haven’t lost any core indicators; however, these now only appear once in the desktop submission, rather than being repeated in different places.  We’ve consolidated the Policies and Procedures we ask to review.   Some indicators that just require a Yes or No answer can now be responded to with a ‘tick box’ .  This means that the indicators requiring a lengthy narrative have reduced in number and are mostly focused on indicators about practice rather than ‘admin’.
  2. Ensure that the QPM is relevant for all forms on one to one advocacy delivery:  We believe that this version of QPM works for all one to one advocacy disciplines in England and Wales.  As we said, you may need to evidence some questions/indicators more fully if your practice is different with different types of advocacy, but the indicators remain the same.
  3. Maintain a balance between supporting service development and ‘audit’: Throughout the update process we repeatedly heard from organisation that the value QPM as a resource that enables them to think about the quality of the services they deliver and that undertaking the QPM gives the incentive to find time to address outstanding issues or refresh policies and procedures.  We believe the updated version will continue to provide this function.  Organisations will need to be mindful of paying the same level of attention to indicators that require a Y/N tick, but ultimately, we are looking at the same standards as previously.  We have also tried to address slightly vague wording of some indicators and we hope this will also enable organisations to reflect on practice more easily.  QPM assessors will be updating their training in June’ 18 and assessors will always try to give balanced, constructive and supportive feedback to organisations where we identify areas for development.
  4. Maintain a fundamental link to the Advocacy Charter: The updated Charter addresses the same Principles as previously and likewise the updated QPM follows suit.  We have included the wording of the Charter principles in the Assessment Workbook as a reminder and to aid reflection.  We also report back against the same principles in the final assessment report.
  5. Increased transparency:  All the indicators that an assessor will be using to assess organisations are held within the Pre-Assessment Questionnaire, The QPM Workbook and The Site Visit Preparation information.  The indicators used for assessing Policies and Procedures, Case files and reports are also clear.

We have updated the QPM process information, FAQs, the Working Agreement (our contract) as well as tried to ensure guidance is clear throughout.  We’ve also updated our privacy policy (of course!) and have given the QPM website a bit of a refresh so that information is hopefully clear and easy to find!

For the QPM team, it has felt like this update has been a real collaboration and this is something we are hugely pleased about.  Thank you to everyone who has provided time, support, thoughts, wording suggestions and helped with thinking things through – many heads are far better than a few and we really wouldn’t have been able to get to this point without the valuable input from the sector.

The QPM team would like to acknowledge our particular thanks to:

Belinda Blank – Independent Advocate
Bev Perkins – Alzheimer’s Society
Cathy Jones – Asist
Claire Camplin – DASL
Claire Jones – Alzheimer’s Society
Diana Evans – Empowerment Charity Lancashire
Emma Mills – Advocacy Support Cymru
Frank Essary – SignHealth
Gail Gordon – Age Cymru Gwent
Gerry Wadham – SWAN Advocacy
Jacqui Jobson – Advocacy Centre North
Jason Tynan – People First Bridgend
Jenny Purcell – Dorset Advocacy
Jill Ball – Age Cymru Powys
John Nixon – Mind in Bexley
Jonathan Douglass VoiceAbility
Judy Sutherland – Trafford CIL
Karen Lloyd – Advocacy Services Wales
Kate Mercer – Kate Mercer Training
Kath Parson – OPAAL
Kathy Slinn – NWAAA
Kevin Glossop – Empowerment Charity Lancashire
Lindsay Graham – People First Independent Advocacy
Liz Fenton – seAp
Lauren Lovelace – Advocacy Focus
Leanne Hignett – Advocacy Focus
Louise Hicks – Age Cymru Powys
Louise Hughes – Golden Thread Advocacy Programme, Age Cymru
Mark Brangwyn – Health Connected
Mark Harris – Asist
Michael Hunt – Trafford CIL
Natasha Fox – Advocacy West Wales
Nicholas Johnson – Advocacy in Barnet
Peter Brown – Citizens Advice Sheffield
Peter Irvine – Pembrokeshire People First
Richard Walsh – Rethink Mental Illness
Sarah Gibson – SWAN Advocacy
Sharon Cullerton Bradford & Airedale Mental Health Advocacy Group
Susan Woods – Advocacy Services North East Wales
Sylvia Targett – Age Cymru Gwynedd a Mon
Vicky Tantony – Advocacy in Greenwich

Advocacy Code of Practice update

So, some of you will be wondering, “What about the Advocacy Code of Practice“?

We are committed to updating this but hadn’t anticipated doing so when we embarked on the QPM update.  However, having updated the Advocacy Charter, we really do need and want to ensure the Code of Practice is also up to date and reflects changes and feedback.

We have had some volunteers offer to work with us on this update but would also love to hear from anyone else that would like to get involved.  We anticipate working together remotely, but we may get together as a task and finish group on at least one occasion.  If you’re interested in supporting the update of the Code of Practice, please email with the subject heading CoP by 30th June 2018

Share your news and resources

During the update of the QPM we heard from lots of you that you wanted us to help find ways to connect organisations with each other and to share news and resources.

There will be a few ways that we aim to do this. We will be re-establishing our monthly advocacy newsletter as well as populating the website with extra helpful links and resources.  We are also keen to set up a discussion forum to support people to share info and discuss issues.

If you have news or resources you’d like to share, are seeking support from another organisation or would like submit a blog for our newsletter then please get in touch at