The SIAA Board is responsible for the organisation’s strategic direction and governance. The Board currently has nine members, who are elected to the Board on an annual basis. Elected board members are from SIAA’s membership, and there are also several co-opted members that bring a range of expertise to the role.
Elected Board Members:
Coming from a varied professional background in mental health work, combined with 6 years as a Resolution Officer with the DWP, I joined AdvoCard in 2013 as the Welfare Reform Worker where I provided individual advocacy for people who had been affected by welfare reform. I then went on to lead the Community Team at AdvoCard before taking up my current role as Operations and Development Manager.
I am passionate about advocacy and really believe in the value of the service that we offer to people who would otherwise struggle to be heard. I am also lucky to lead a professional and supportive team who make my role so much easier.
I moved to Edinburgh in 2013 and it has gradually started to feel like home although everyone says I still haven’t lost my accent. I love the festivals, especially the Christmas one, and can’t wait to see everything back up and running again. When not working I like swimming, both indoors and outdoors at Portobello Beach.
Having worked in independent advocacy for 15 years, and been aware of the importance of independent advocacy for almost 30 years due to family connections, I have experience at all levels, from administration to frontline service provision, service lead and most recently Policy & Development Manager at East Ayrshire Advocacy Services.
Passionate about human rights, challenging inequalities and empowering people to have voice, I am also Chair of the Board of Trustees of White Ribbon Scotland, Scotland’s campaign to engage men in preventing men’s violence against women and girls. In my spare time I can be found cycling in the hills around Glasgow and beyond.
My advocacy career began in 2005 as an Advocacy Worker, I am now a Team Leader. I have lots of experience supporting Advocacy Partners from different client groups with various issues. Despite my 18 years in advocacy, I am not an expert – “every day is a school day”. If you cut me in half the words ADVOCATE would be visible, its who I am and what I know. I believe in the principles of independent advocacy, and I am on the SIAA board as I want to help make a difference and shape the future of advocacy in Scotland.
As an experienced professional advocacy practitioner, I have a client-led, evidenced-based, person-centred and outcomes-based proven records in the delivery of independent advocacy service to vulnerable individuals affected by different legislations and or otherwise discriminated against as defined in The Equality Act 2000. I have empowered individuals to express their views, wishes and choices by exercising their human rights to equal access and equal opportunities or other rights. I endeavour to add values to, promote and implement the strategic outcomes of the SIAA with skills and competencies acquired in my 11 years providing independent advocacy support both instructed and non-instructed.
As an asylum seeker with 2 toddlers, I have enjoyed the human rights enshrined in both UK and Scottish legislations.
Fully aware of the stigma, prejudices, and inequalities, I am a committed human rights enabler or defenders.
I am mother of 2 young adult children.
I love recycling and repurposing – Charity shops.
I have worked in independent advocacy for over a decade, although I have been a human rights advocate for as long as I can remember!
My passion for independent advocacy was first ignited when I joined Angus Independent Advocacy as a Citizen Advocacy Development Worker in 2012, taking on the role of Manager and then CEO. I have done some 1:1 advocacy and have been a Citizen Advocate (voluntary) for a number of years.
Outside of work, most of my time is spent adventuring with my two little boys, my husband and our Springer Spaniel. If I get the chance I enjoy yoga, love to bake/cook and have recently become a bit of a DIY enthusiast.
Polly Patrick, Treasurer
Tracey McFall, Chair
Tracey has worked in the social care sector for over 25 years where she managed a range of social care services across several policy areas including justice, problematic substance use, homelessness, children, young people, and mental health. Her more recent senior roles have driven improvement and quality assurance through service review, re-design, organisational change and strategic development and implementation.
Tracey has worked in the University of Glasgow, Scottish Government before her current post as Chief Executive Officer at Partners in Advocacy. She is a member of The Promise Oversight Board, Chair of the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance (SIAA) and Criminal Justice Voluntary Sector Forum (CJVSF).
I have been involved in the independent advocacy sector since joining CAPS Independent Advocacy in 2014 as an Individual Advocacy Worker where I quickly started to focus on supporting people affected by Welfare Reform.
Since taking on my current role as Individual Advocacy Manager in 2019 I’ve had the privilege of supporting our wonderful team through a period of significant growth, developing new areas of advocacy provision for CAPS such as working with children and young people for the first time.
I’m passionate about independent advocacy because so many people have told me the difference it’s made to them. It’s such a simple but powerful idea – we all need someone on our side sometimes!
I started in DIAS as the manager in October 2017, bringing nearly 30 years of management experience and personal experience of advocacy for family members, including 11years working within the third sector.
I joined SIAA board recently, bringing many years of management experience along with the reality check of what it is like to deliver Independent Advocacy. The future of SIAA is both exciting but daunting at times, and I look forward to helping shape how we need to change and adapt a sustainable service to meet the needs of our partners.
I love spending time with my 6 grandchildren, they always make me smile.
After 20 years of being a registered nurse and senior manager in the NHS I switched career to become an independent advocacy worker managing independent advocacy for those who were subject to the Mental Health Act in Buckinghamshire, England.
In 2013 I move back to Scotland with my husband and I’m proud to say I have been working in independent advocacy now for close on 20 years.
It’s true to say that independent advocacy gets under your skin and once you’ve caught that bug it’s impossible to let it go!
My paid role now is operations management in Partners in Advocacy, an organisation which shares my passion and values for equality, upholding human rights and celebrating diversity.
Co-opted Board Members:
I am Professor of Mental Health and Capacity Law and founder and Director of Edinburgh Napier University’s Centre for Mental Health and Capacity Law and Centre for Mental Health Practice Policy and Law Research. My areas of research and expertise are mental health and capacity law and related international, European and national human rights. I’m currently an Executive Team member of the Scottish Mental Health Law Review and was previously an adviser to the Independent Review of Learning Disability & Autism in the Mental Health Act.
Clare Gallagher, Vice-chair
Until my recent retirement I was the Chief Executive of Independent Advocacy Perth and Kinross, and had been in this post for nearly 15 years until 2022. In my past career I worked in the social care field for over 35 years in a variety of roles starting in a local authority, but for the majority of time in third sector mental health and independent advocacy organisations. My experience has included working in areas such as residential accommodation, supported housing, community support, day services and independent advocacy. The roles I have held in my career included front line work and a variety of management roles of organisations and area management for geographical areas.
SIAA’s staff team is responsible for the organisation’s operations. You can contact staff members by emailing SIAA’s reception desk at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Suzanne Swinton, Chief Executive Officer
- Rhona Willder, Development Manager
- Daniela Rondina, Development Officer
- Nicola Mcphail, Office Administrator