The new Dementia Strategy for Scotland ‘Everyone’s Story’ is a 10-year vision for change. This strategy was developed in collaboration with people with lived experience and other partners. It is the culmination of eight months of engagement with people across Scotland, focussed on how Scottish Government and public sector partners can improve delivery. 

Human rights based approach  

SIAA are glad to see focus on human rights throughout the strategy including the PANEL principles and broader human rights as part of the Vision for change, one of the five key elements of the Vision of the Dementia Strategy is: “The human rights of people living with dementia and their care partners are upheld throughout their dementia journey.” The strategy also stresses the importance of monitoring the impact of the strategy on groups that face additional barriers as well as taking a human rights-based approach through the dementia journey and for all types of dementia. 

Independent advocacy in the Dementia Strategy  

The document highlights that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) has Articles with detail on the right to independent advocacy including in relation to future care planning, as well as Articles addressing the needs for supported decision-making, as opposed to substituted decision-making (independent advocacy being a key tool for supported decision-making) and choice and control about where people live.  

  • Page 55 includes independent advocacy as part of ‘The difference we need to make’:  “Access to independent advocacy is widely available and publicised across dementia services and community networks.”
  • And page 66 discusses prioritising people with dementia having a voice: “We prioritise the need to ensure people with dementia have a voice, and look for ways to skill up staff on legal protections and safeguards to ensure people have the opportunity to participate in decisions around their care to the greatest possible extent. This includes greater awareness and understanding of Guardianship, Power of Attorney, independent advocacy and Anticipatory Care Planning.”

SIAA welcomes the inclusion of independent advocacy and would like to highlight how impactful independent advocacy can be in ensuring a person with dementia’s voice is heard and human rights upheld.  

We know that our members, who are independent advocacy groups and organisations, are busier than ever working with people that face increasing complexity and hardship in their lives, meaning advocacy partners need more in-depth advocacy to be provided for longer periods of time. In order to support this element of the strategy we call for better resourcing of independent advocacy organisations and collective advocacy groups across local areas with funding dedicated to meeting the needs of those with dementia. SIAA hope to engage in further discussions about how this change can be achieved.

Next steps

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