SIAA provided learning has long been requested from our membership. Many member organisations don’t know to which level or with how much detail to train their staff and may often struggle to find appropriate training with a focus on Independent Advocacy. However, the knowledge of Independent Advocacy and its practice are embedded within the member organisations. Similarly to Independent Advocacy, the learning for it has developed over time, independently by each Independent Advocacy organisation. It is based on the knowledge gathered through the practical experiences of the pioneering independent advocates, offering rich essence to build the learning on. This has allowed Independent Advocacy organisations to be rooted in their communities and develop independent advocacy that is guided by the community’s needs and what works for them. 

This development to practice and learning, however, means that the learning provision across the country is fragmented and lacks in clarity and consistency across models of independent advocacy and varies depending on each members’ size and resources. The lack of consistent learning has been noted in the Scott Review Recommendations, by Scottish Government, funding providers and the SIAA members themselves. All these stakeholders are looking for provision of consistent core learning for Independent Advocates that is accessible and available to all SIAA members and builds towards evidencing quality Independent Advocacy. 

To support the membership to evidence quality independent advocacy and practice SIAA is working to co-develop core learning and further learning with the membership. Through co-design, SIAA aim to create learning that is fit for purpose, built on existing knowledge and diverse perspectives, and focused on Independent Advocacy.  

To develop a new quality learning offer for the membership, our Learning and Development (L&D) Officer has taken a hybrid approach to the learning development, which involves working on starting to create inductive core modules and working on a long-term learning framework. We have identified eLearning as the most efficient way for members to engage with the learning, supported by occasional webinars and other sessions and activities that allow for further social learning opportunities. ELearning means members can access modules at a time that is suitable for each of them, and that the learning is accessible to members across Scotland. 

First Module, which focuses on introducing Independent Advocacy is under development. This module will be directed at newcomers into Independent Advocacy and provide a foundational understanding of the Principles, Standards and Code of Best Practice. It will be both sense- and quality-checked and allow the membership to see what is coming next. 

Learning Framework is our long-term goal for learning. Learning framework is informed by the membership feedback, the Outcomes Framework, and Scottish skills and knowledge frameworks, creating an outline of learning needed for each role, and how it feeds evidencing the quality of Independent Advocacy.  This will include carrying out focus groups with the membership to identify learning needs and wants and ideate future learning, which will inform further development. The information gathered may also act as an evidence base for learning already provided by the membership and as a resource for good external learning provision. 

If you are interested in being involved and influence the learning, Liisa (, our L&D officer will be happy to hear from you. She will be getting in touch this summer to invite you to take part in the focus groups. 

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