We’re delighted to share the news that the Scottish Government have amended the Social Security Advocacy Service Standards to include non-instructed advocacy.
Previously, only instructed advocacy was included in the Service Standards. SIAA, along with several independent advocacy member organisations, attended the Advocacy Short Life Working Group, mentioned by Minister Ben Macpherson, in the video clip below. SIAA and our members were instrumental in highlighting the issues with not including disabled people that could not instruct an advocate in the Service Standards. We’re pleased that this change has been made and that disabled people who lack capacity will be able to access independent advocacy in relation to claiming social security in Scotland.
Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), particularly as interpreted by the CRPD Committee, regards differences in exercising legal capacity based on mental incapacity assessments, as discrimination. Access to support to exercise legal capacity (e.g with independent advocacy) must be provided irrespective of mental incapacity. We’re pleased that this change to the Standards means people deemed to lack capacity have greater access to realising their human rights through non-instructed advocacy.
You can view the full statement from the Minister about the change below.