East Lothian Independent Advocacy Strategy

Closed 19 Nov 2023

Opened 4 Oct 2023


Independent advocacy

Independent advocacy helps people to have as much control as possible in their lives. An independent advocate is a person who will support people to have their views heard.

Independent advocates:

  • speak up for people and groups
  • support people to know their rights and what choices they have
  • support people to understand what is happening to them and change things if needed
  • support people to make decisions based on all the information
  • help to stop difficult situations happening or stop difficult situations getting worse.

They can also support people and groups to develop the skills, confidence and understanding to speak up for themselves.

Independent advocates help people to get their views heard. They don't offer advice.

Why is independent advocacy important?

Independent advocacy helps people to share their voice at meetings and appointments. Independent advocates build up trust with the people they support. People feel at ease knowing their voice is being shared safely.

What is East Lothian's Independent Advocacy Strategy?

We want to make sure that people who need independent advocacy can get it. We are going to talk to lots of different people to hear their views and experiences.

We will use this information to shape our plan for independent advocacy in East Lothian. We call this plan the East Lothian Independent Advocacy Strategy. It looks at who needs independent advocacy in East Lothian and how to meet these needs.

We have made a start by making a draft strategy. This shows what we think is needed but we want to hear from you whether we've got it right.

What does the Independent advocacy strategy say?

It says that:

  • we should have independent advocacy services for people who need it
  • people who need independent advocacy should have this support for as long as they need it
  • people know where to find out how to get independent advocacy.

What sort of independent advocacy can people in East Lothian get now?

People who can get independent advocacy in East Lothian include:

  • People with learning disabilities aged 16 and over
  • People with autism aged 16 and over
  • Older people aged 65 and over
  • People with physical disability aged over 16
  • People with mental health issues aged 18 and over
  • Children and young people experiencing an eating disorder
  • Adults experiencing an eating disorder
  • Young adults aged 16-17 with mental health issues or drug/alcohol use
  • Children aged 5 -18, experiencing a Children’s Hearing and their siblings
  • Children and young people living away from home.

Why your views matter

We need your help to understand more about people's experiences of independent advocacy. We want to know what is going well and and what could be better. We'd also like to know if you think other people should get independent advocacy. Please tell us who and why.

We'd like to hear from people who have used or are using independent advocacy and people who feel they'd benefit from it. We'd also like to hear from anyone who has ideas about the need for independent advocacy including professionals, third sector and community groups, and the general public.

Please take part in our survey to tell us what you think.

What happens next

We are collecting views in meetings, interviews and desk research together with this survey. This will help to shape the East Lothian Independent Advocacy Strategy.


  • All Areas


  • Anyone from any background


  • Residents' views and priorities