Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that Dorset Advocacy are asked about our services. Simply click on a question below to view the answer.
What is advocacy?
Anybody can advocate for someone else, in a variety of ways. Sometimes people don’t have suitable family or friends who can advocate for them. In addition, all of our advocates are independent. That means they work in your best interests. They are not influenced by family, friends, Social Workers or other organisations. They work with you to help you speak up about what is important to you, changes you would like to make in your life, help you understand and ensure you have equal access to opportunities.
What can Dorset Advocacy support me with?
Our advocates can support you with Continuing Health Care applications and appeals, Care and Support Planning through social services, and support if you are a carer in Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole. We can also offer some support with specific short-term issues if you have a disability or long-term condition and already receive some help from social services. For details please see our Advocacy page. We can only help people who come under these categories.
How do I get support?
If you would like more information about what Dorset Advocacy does, or think an advocate could help you speak up about something in your life, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Are your Advocacy services free?
Yes, all of Dorset Advocacy’s services are free. You don’t have to pay anything to make a referral or to receive support. Dorset Advocacy is funded to provide certain services, however, we also rely on your generosity, so if you would like to, please look at our Donate page, to see how you could help,
Will you talk to other organisations about me?
No. We never share information with anybody without your permission. If you would like us to talk to other organisations on your behalf, we will ask you to sign a form telling us which organisations you would like us to talk to. We will only talk about the things you want us to talk about. The only exception to this is if we felt you, or somebody else, was at serious risk of harm.
Are all your advocates qualified?
All of our advocates have either obtained or are working towards their Independent Advocacy Qualification (IAQ). They are also all vetted by the Disclosure and Barring System (DBS). They receive regular supervision. If you are unsure about what this means, you can speak to someone by ringing Dorset Advocacy on 0300 343 7000.
What do I do if I’m not happy with the support I receive?
If at any time you feel uncomfortable with the support provided by Dorset Advocacy, you can request a copy of our Complaints Procedure or speak to a Senior Manager by calling 0300 343 7000.
How long will it take to get an advocate?
When you make a referral, a Referral Gateway Officer will tell you if we can help. If we can, they will pass it to an allocating manager who will usually assign you to an advocate within 7-12 working days.
Will I keep the same advocate forever?
Not necessarily. Our advocates will help you with specific issues and try and resolve these for you as quickly as possible. If you need help again in the future we may be able to take another referral, and we can try and pair you with the same advocate again if you’d like.
Do you offer work experience?
We have previously welcomed Social Work students on a placement as part of their course. If you would like to discuss the possibility of a placement, please call the office on 0300 343 7000.
Why should I trust Dorset Advocacy?
Dorset Advocacy holds the Quality Performance Mark (QPM), Investors in People Accreditation, Investors in Volunteers Accreditation and has 25 years experience supporting vulnerable people secure their rights and equality of access to opportunities. We have a built a positive reputation through our work and relationships with commissioners and are seen as being creative, innovative and knowledgeable.
Can you help me with my benefits claim/appeal/meeting?
Unfortunately not. Try Citizens Advice (https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/) or Diverse Abilities (https://diverseabilities.org.uk/advice/disabilitybenefits/)
Can you help me with a housing issue?
Unfortunately not. For general housing advice see Shelter (https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice). If you want to complain about a housing provider you can use this free tool; Resolver (https://www.resolver.co.uk/) If you are currently homeless or at risk of homelessness you can contact The You Trust (https://theyoutrust.org.uk/service/homelessness/) or Shelter as above.
Can you help me with a complaint about the NHS?
While Dorset Advocacy used to provide this service, it has now been taken over by seAp (http://seap.org.uk/)
Can you help with employment rights or disputes with my workplace?
We are sorry, we cannot help with specific employment issues. We suggest that you contact ACAS https://www.acas.org.uk/or your union representative if you are a member of a Trade Union.