We run nine advocacy programmes across England. They provide support to children living in care, children leaving care and children with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

The value of independent advocacy for looked after children and young people

Using evidence from our practice base, our latest report explores the value of advocacy both for looked after children supported by independent advocates and for the commissioners of these services. This briefing note for commissioners summarises key findings from the full report.

How we work

Our programmes support children and young people who wish to voice their views and opinions, challenge decisions about their lives or make representations and/or complaints but who need someone else to help them to do so.

The programmes’ key objective is to promote children and young people’s central involvement in decisions affecting their lives. The nature of support varies significantly but each service follows a set of core principles:

  • The advocate should not be directive or judgemental but help the young person to express her/his decision clearly and appropriately to the intended audience 
  • Young people should be offered full information in making their decisions 
  • Young people would decide on the best course of action 
  • The advocate should always remain fully supportive of the young person. 

Key considerations

Commissioning decisions about advocacy services are generally influenced by the following key considerations:

  • The positive change services can make to the lives of children and young people 
  • To what extent services enable local authorities to meet statutory requirements 
  • How much it costs to provide an effective service. 

Advocacy services provided by The Children’s Society deliver on all three of these objectives. Download more information here.

Our advocacy calculator

We have created a calculator, a Microsoft Excel file that allows you to estimate the annual budget required for the provision of an effective independent advocacy service in your local area. We reviewed the cases in our own services to find out the characteristics of the children and young people we supported last year and how much this cost us to provide. The information we gathered sits behind this calculator. 

In the calculator, please complete each of the green cells using the instructions to the left of the calculator as a guide. To the right of the calculator we have also provided some additional information on our own services as a reference point.

If you have questions about the calculator please contact our Economics Adviser, David Hounsell.