Statement from CEO, Patricia Winchester

14th April 2021

We are delighted to have been appointed to deliver a Care Advocacy service to which social care professionals can refer the relatively small number of people in Jersey who require significant levels of care and support and who have difficulty in participating in the decision making process. Whilst there is no Care Act in Jersey, local services wish to embrace the fundamental principle that people should be active partners in the key processes of care assessment, planning and review. Advocates can play an integral part as their goal is to actively support individuals to participate as fully as possible within the decision making process. As specialists in maximising a person’s ability to consider complex information and express their views, advocates are able to ensure that services respect the individual’s specific wishes and needs. People who will be eligible for support must have complex needs which will include substantial difficulty in engaging with the process due limited mental capacity and have no one else available or who they want to support them.

The wording of the Government press release, whilst well intentioned and enthusiastic, was unfortunate. This service has a very specific remit and we will not be labelling our clients in any way. Our goal is always to treat every person as an individual and to offer the very best, independent, well-qualified advocacy. Every client can choose whether to engage with us, and can disengage at any point. Our team have a range of skills and qualifications and work to our charitable objectives, which include helping our clients to understand and access their rights, to represent their views, and supporting them to live their own lives in line with their values, choices and wishes, as far as possible.

This service should be seen as a positive and progressive development in line with our new Capacity Law, and one which should be embraced by fellow professionals and colleagues.

I cannot stress enough that it is not a learning disability or autism service. Care Advocacy will be open to a wide range, albeit small number of, individuals who have substantial difficulty in participating in difficult decision making processes, and for whom no appropriate adult is available.