The Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance has recently conducted its regular biennial quantitative research into funding and provision of advocacy in Scotland during 2013/14. Some of the key findings include;
- 27,000 people accessed independent advocacy, an increase of 8% over the 2011-2012 year.
- Funding for 65% of independent advocacy organisations had either decreased or remained static.
- Gaps in advocacy provision remain. In 10 Local Authority areas of Scotland children and young people with a Learning Disability or Mental Health issue do not have access to independent advocacy despite their statutory right of access. 7 Local Authority areas still do not have any advocacy provision for people with a physical disability.
The demand for advocacy is set to further increase with the real impacts of welfare reform becoming apparent, already 87% of advocacy organisations have reported receiving significant increases in referrals relating to aspects of welfare reform. This will put further strain on the already limited resources of advocacy organisations resulting in the most vulnerable people in our society being unable to access advocacy. The Advocacy Map 2013-2014 is available to view on the SIAA website. A breakdown of the statistics by NHS board or an overview of Advocacy in Scotland is also available as short briefings on the website.