Helping Bill

What was the person’s situation before working with Advocacy Focus?

Bill had an acquired brain injury and sight issues.

He could only read his communications from the health and social services if they were adapted into a very specific format (with a very large font size and specific colours of text and background)

Services, including health, claimed that it would take too much time to change each document.

What did you do to help the person?

During the complaints process about this issue, services came back arguing that Bill had x amount of hours each week through direct payments for support to read and process incoming communications and should not need them to be provided in a specific format, as support workers can read them to him.

The advocate supported Bill to respond, highlighting that some of his correspondence contained personal information that he did not wants others to view. He explained the hours used through direct payments were for general communications such as household bills etc but that he would regard it a breach of his privacy to have no choice but to share all his social services and health communications with his support workers.

In support of this argument the advocate supported Bill to refer to Article 8 of the human rights act – in particular, the part about a right to private correspondence.

Article 8 protects your right to respect for private and family life, your home and correspondence. Correspondence includes things like, letters, emails, fax, telephone.”

The advocate also supported Bill to refer to the Accessible information standard:

The Accessible Information Standard (AIS) was introduced by the government in 2016 to make sure that people with a disability or sensory loss are given information in a way they can understand. It is now the law for the NHS and adult social care services to comply with AIS.

What was the outcome?

Social services did in the end agree to provide the copy communications in the format requested

How do you think this impacted on the person?

Bill’s level of “control over his day to day living” improved along with his emotional wellbeing (as he had been very stressed about the issue)

Why do you think advocacy support was so effective?

Clear legal rights were identified and used to support the desired outcome. Without our knowledge of the Human Rights and ability to support Bill to understand and fight for his rights, Bill would have continued to feel excluded from his own health and social care. Having an independent person to empower Bill to self-advocate made a significant difference to the outcome and to Bill’s life, as he now feels more confident and able to support himself in future.

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