Advocacy Focus Once Again Wins QPM Award!

The Quality Performance Mark (QPM) is the only quality mark for organisations that deliver Independent Advocacy. The National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) is responsible for assessing and awarding organisations with QPM status. Being awarded the QPM is confirmation that an organisation is delivering the gold standard of advocacy- you are amongst the crème de la crème of advocacy services. It is widely recognised and respected across the advocacy sector. It demonstrates that an organisation is delivering advocacy in line with the Advocacy Charter. Here at Advocacy Focus we pride ourselves on quality, so much so it is included as one of our organisation’s core values. So, achieving QPM status is a huge deal for us!

The purpose of a QPM assessment is to make sure that our advocacy policies are up to date, we are following best practice, and all our delivery is in line with the QPM standards that are required to gain and hold the award. The QPM assessment gives us an opportunity to showcase to an industry expert all the work that we do, who then examines how we are delivering our advocacy services in line with the QPM standards and the Advocacy Charter. We’re then given useful feedback that we can use to shape and develop our services further.

We have proudly held QPM for many years, and every 3 years we undergo further assessment to hold our QPM status, which ensures that we continue to meet the standard. We recently underwent our assessment for QPM once again and are happy to confirm that we achieved our QPM status once more!

Some of the glowing feedback from NDTi demonstrates exactly how we are delivering quality advocacy services in line with the principles of the Advocacy Charter:

Clarity of Purpose – “Advocates had an impressive understanding of the importance of being clear about their roles, remits, and professional boundaries and how to communicate the purpose of advocacy to people who use their services and to professionals. They were clear about the purpose of all the types of advocacy they offer. This was reflected throughout the organisation.”

Independence – “Advocates and Mangers clearly prioritise their independence from service providers, funders, commissioners, and other stakeholders. They gave excellent examples of how they maintain their independence in practice and how important it is to demonstrate independence to people who use their services.”

Person-led and empowerment – “This is an outstanding area of good practice. Advocacy Focus supports self-advocacy with toolkits and other resources, such as the Justice for LB Toolkit available on the website. Advocates were clear about ways in which they work in a person-centred way and how they support people to get their voices heard. Advocacy Focus has co-produced excellent easy read guides and documents. There was a clear commitment to encouraging self-advocacy wherever possible. Advocacy Focus has a commitment to learning from people who use the services, for example using feedback from its RPR service to create a new RPR fact sheet.”

Accessibility – “Easy read options and a very clear website ensure that services are accessible, along with use of translations and interpreters when needed. The website has an excellent video: ‘What is advocacy and how can we help you to self-advocate?

Supporting Advocates – “This is another outstanding area of excellence at Advocacy Focus. Staff report feeling very well supported and staff wellbeing is clearly prioritised. There is an open, trusting culture of honesty, peer support, managerial support, enquiry and reflection, teamwork, personal and organisational development. Staff reported manageable workloads, autonomy, and good communication. Staff and volunteers appreciate outstanding and positive leadership around wellbeing.”

As part of the assessment process the QPM assessor speaks to people who have worked closely with Advocacy Focus, including people our Independent Advocates have supported, and external professionals in the health and social care sector. Some of the wonderful feedback we received from our stakeholders included:

“My advocate understood my needs and wishes, we had rapport straight away…I’d still be there now if it wasn’t for them. There’s nothing they could have done better, she was superb. The outcome was exactly what I wanted, largely due to the advocate.” – Person who has used services

“She had a lovely manner, very skilled, very person centred. – Person who has used services

“I could always get in touch (with the advocate), messages were always passed on and responded to. The whole services was excellent, really welcoming, nothing was too much trouble.” – Person who has used services

“(The advocate was) helpful, listened to me and what I was dealing with, help with paperwork, even though the outcome was not what I wanted, her help was phenomenal, she went above and beyond. The advocate and the company, no-one else has ever helped me like that.” – Person who has used services.

They provide a very clear voice for the individual, their reports are very thorough with detailed evidence of what the person is saying, next steps and any action.” – Health and social care professional

Advocates create and maintain positive working relationships whilst also being very forceful on the side of the child or young person they are working with.” – Health and social care professional

“The quality of their reports is excellent. They are like a dog with a bone, they are persistent… I have confidence that they do the job properly, they know DOLS inside out. They have the confidence to challenge where they need to. 10 out of 10.” – Health and social care professional

Hearing feedback like this makes us so proud to have an amazing team who are dedicated to going above and beyond to deliver quality advocacy worthy of the QPM award. Here’s to another 3 years of being a QPM awarded advocacy provider!

We are completely humbled by the glowing assessment, and we have big plans for the charity over the next three years, with a continued commitment to young people and adults across the North, helping people live the lives they want to live!

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