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  • Social Policy Guidelines 2008
    of interest be broadly based and include regular contact on a wide range of topics of mutual concern include working with voluntary and community organisations and statutory bodies be developed or tapped into at a local regional or national level Identifying the problem and verifying the evidence Those who seek information about or access to their rights and entitlements can experience problems there may be gaps identified in the provision of services for groups or categories of people either at national or at local level inaccurate or inadequate information can sometimes be provided citizens may be treated with less courtesy than they deserve there can be undue delays in the provision of services Any attempt to achieve change or influence policy must be based on an accurate and coherent account of the existing position a definition of the perceived problem and some rationale for any proposals made It is therefore worth investing time energy and other resources in making sure that any description of the situation is absolutely correct This means stating the problem clearly stating accurately any relevant rules procedures or legislation gathering and setting out clearly all relevant data reviewing relevant research using case studies where appropriate Where case studies are used the information in them must be accurate and the anonymity of individuals must be protected Being accurate and objective is crucial to the credibility of social policy initiatives taken to any future social policy work and to the organisation generally Getting the facts right is essential for effective and credible social policy work Stating the case Once the problem has been identified and the evidence gathered it is important to set it down clearly in written format see the recording instrument provided by CIB to CIC s This could involve identifying the background setting out the problem providing the evidence in an organised fashion proposing a solution The resulting document does not have to be very long quality rather than quantity is what counts The better the report the greater the chance of effective social policy work Taking initiatives This can involve providing direct feedback to the relevant statutory agency either nationally or locally channelling information through the CIB or other national organisations either statutory or voluntary community becoming involved in local projects or initiatives either alone or in co operation with others which may include publicising the issue or the initiative locally Choosing issues which could be progressed at local level will be determined by the nature of issues identified and the resources available including time personnel local knowledge and information Local social policy initiatives could include identifying gaps in local provision and proposing solutions negotiating with local public service officials e g local authorities HSE personnel the local office of the Department of Social and Family Affairs co operating with other local organisations campaigning around particular problems or perceived needs liasing with the CIB and other relevant organisations identifying problems with the local administration of social services and proposing solutions Getting involved in local

    Original URL path: http://citizensinformationboard.ie/publications/social/social_policy_guidelines.html (2015-10-08)
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  • Accessible information for all (2009)
    and Social Policy Publications Advocacy and Accessibility Publications Advocacy Accessibility Corporate Publications Voluntary Sector Publications Accessible information for all 2009 Contents Introduction Fact Sheet 1 Carrying out an information access audit Fact Sheet 2 Consulting with service users Fact Sheet 3 Working in partnership Fact Sheet 4 Designing information for accessibility Fact Sheet 5 Providing your information in different formats Fact Sheet 6 Making your website accessible Fact Sheet 7

    Original URL path: http://citizensinformationboard.ie/publications/advocacy/social_access_info_contents.html (2015-10-08)
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  • Developing Advocacy Services: Regional Fora Report 2002
    with branches nation wide They have developed an accredited training course for people working as advocates Eureka based in Tallaght provides an information service specifically in the field of mental health and assists people with mental health problems in pursuing their rights and in accessing supported housing counselling and alternative therapies Schizophrenia Ireland provides information advice and support and pursues a policy of peer advocacy People with Intellectual Learning Disabilities Some of the participating agencies work with people with intellectual learning disabilities and provide advocacy services for their users For example the Brothers of Charity have an internal advocacy structure operating at local regional and national levels where clients are assisted by staff to articulate needs The St John of God services incorporate an advocacy dimension to their work which often involves talking to parents regarding the client s wishes and options Prosper Fingal includes advocacy as an integral aspect of its services for people with learning disabilities People with Physical and Sensory Disabilities A number of agencies working with people with physical and sensory disabilities were represented For example the Irish Wheelchair Association advocate on behalf of clients in pursuing the full social economic and educational integration of people with disabilities They also encourage clients to become active within the organization and to engage in group advocacy The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland provides supports and services to people with multiple sclerosis and their families Enable Ireland provides services and advocacy for children and adults with physical disabilities The National Association for Deaf People provides advocacy as part of its CIC service 4 3 Other Participating Groups Other participating groups providing advocacy services in various forms included a support group for women in prostitution older persons support groups Travellers support groups a project working with families under stress and a Health Board support service to drug abusers 5 Key Points Identified The main points emerging from the consultation process are presented here under five headings background to advocacy work different approaches to advocacy work obstacles inherent in the system developing advocacy services and target groups identified 5 1 Background to Advocacy Work The general view that emerged in the Fora was that advocacy work is operating at present on largely an informal basis It is happening in a haphazard manner and without a strategic context However it was also recognised that as already stated often organisations and agencies are actually involved in advocacy work but do not use the term Some participants made the point that in the re organisation and mainstreaming of services vital individual support services formerly provided by the NRB were no longer in existence and stated that a new advocacy service for people with disabilities is required to fill that gap There was a recognition that advocacy work operates on different levels So for example it was considered that CIC s provide a first level service at present through for instance help with form filling There was also a distinction drawn between short term advocacy e g once off interventions and support to address a particular issue and long term advocacy e g for a person with an ongoing disability or otherwise needing ongoing support Indeed this concept of short term and long term advocacy may explain why specialist agencies appear to think more in terms of empowerment than information providers The latter are involved generally in short term advocacy As a result the reality may be that people seeking advocacy to get a state benefit are looking for someone who will fight their case for that benefit and hopefully get it for them as quickly as possible rather than looking to be empowered By contrast the advocate for a person with a lifelong disability may be more inclined to adopt a long term strategy of empowerment Of course this is not to deny that perhaps the person who wants help to get a state benefit is also being empowered so that s he can fight for his her rights without help in future 5 2 Approaches to Advocacy Work Three broad approaches to advocacy work can be identified from the Forum discussions a representational model an empowerment model and a support model lying somewhere between i and ii While none of the contributors appeared to see the models as being mutually exclusive the comments generally appear to demonstrate a leaning towards one or other of the models Comments from the representational view of advocacy referred to for example representation listening and acting on behalf of naming blaming and claiming By contrast those emphasising the empowerment model spoke of advocacy involving equipping people with the necessary skills assisting self determination empowering and not acting in a saviour role Those leaning towards a support model indicated that advocacy involved helping people deal with issues supporting people being there for someone facilitation This approach included the presentation of information choices in an impartial manner allowing the individual to make the final choice Overall there was no clear indication whether this difference in approach in terms of models is in any way connected with the type of agency involved for example generalist information provider as compared with specialist support agency However it is reasonable to suggest that the empowerment model may feature more amongst specialist agencies while the representation support models are more likely to be adopted by services involved in information provision Although much of the discussion in the Fora centred on the role of advocacy in the context of individual casework there was also a recognition of advocacy in a wider context For example a question was raised as to the role of advocacy in situations where relevant services are not available in the first place The answer given was that the provision of advocacy resulted in gaps in service provision emerging which could be brought to bear on policy formulation and legislative change Advocates were thus seen as having a wider role to educate service providers as to the needs and rights of a particular group There was however the contrary view expressed that the advocate should only act on behalf of an individual and that the wider policy feedback role should be catered for through other structures 5 3 Obstacles Inherent in the System A number of factors were identified as impinging on people s access to entitlements and services and which therefore had a bearing on the type of advocacy services needed There is no single manual of entitlements and people encounter a bewildering complexity of language when trying to establish entitlements There are too many bodies and agencies each with their own rules and procedures all this leaves the individual in a weak a vulnerable position vis a vis the system The kind of information being provided by statutory services is pitched at too a high a level of literacy for many people and they simply cannot deal with it without one to one help It was stated for example that current FAS practice is to display job vacancies on touch screens which some people cannot use They simply get discouraged and walk out of the FAS office A related point made in some of the Fora was that there is too much information of the kind which overwhelms and disempowers people because they cannot decipher and make sense of it People s information needs are becoming very complex This has implications for staffing levels in for example CIC s and other information advice services It was stated that it was difficult to provide a quality advocacy service with current staffing levels There was some criticism of the Comhairle Citizens Information Database which was described by one participant as overwhelming to use OASIS an eGovernment initiative providing frontline information on public services via the Internet was regarded as too complex for some people many of whom were far removed from being able to access and use the Internet The mainstreaming of services was regarded by some participants as presenting persons with disabilities with a huge challenge of physical stamina as well as the intellectual challenges of coping with the language and concepts used by mainstream agencies There are huge areas of unmet need existing services only touch the tip of the iceberg particularly in relation to disability mental illness and minority groups The system is now so fragmented and complex that field officers such as public health nurses cannot be au fait with the full spectrum of entitlements It was stated that statutory agency personnel at the coal face are themselves frequently bewildered by the issue of entitlements and are being put into an invidious position having to ration scarce resources There is a need for greater transparency in State services greater public knowledge of how systems work and greater co operation from public officials in dealing with complex situations The issue of duplication of advocacy services among agencies was identified as a difficulty The funding base for advocacy services needs clarification For example at present the Department of Health and Children funds the Irish Advocacy Network the Department of Social and Family Affairs funds Comhairle who were named in the Disabilities Bill 2001 subsequently withdrawn as the provider of a Personal Advocacy Service and the Equality Authority is also currently funding initiatives on advocacy The question of state agencies supporting the disability sector being staffed by the able bodied exclusively was identified as one that needs to be addressed The point was made that in the new organizations all significant jobs went to the able bodied Some participants felt that it was vital that persons with disabilities should be appointed to these agencies at higher management levels Some concern was expressed about the autonomy and independence of existing and proposed advocacy services particularly in the situation where the funding agency was also the service provider The freedom to challenge service providers was seen as vital to effective advocacy The role of the advocate within the institutional semi institutional setting was seen as presenting particular problems If the advocate is a member of staff within an institution s he may be faced with resentment or rejection from other staff members Allegiance to clients may conflict with the interests of other in house professionals with the interests of the institution or with those of families Advocacy appended to other services was seen by some as resulting in a fragmented poorly resourced service without clear definition or focus 5 4 Developing Advocacy Services All of the Fora identified the need to place advocacy work on a more formal footing This was described in one Forum as the service having a paralegal role Dedicated training coupled with accreditation was a recurring theme and was seen as essential to the establishment of advocacy at the more formal level This was particularly the case if advocacy services are to develop beyond the basic level referred to above i e initial information phone calls letters etc and take on a more in depth specialist role Common areas of need identified were funding resources staff continuity staff supervision and support internal and external training Strategic development and ongoing monitoring and evaluation were also identified as key requirements Practical issues such as insurance and indemnity were also raised The question of how dedicated advocacy workers might be employed was considered for example whether a wide range of individual voluntary community groups would employ advocates or whether advocates would be employed by one agency regionally with local groups referring people as required More work was called for in order to identify good practice models and to formulate protocols for action Improved feedback mechanisms were seen as necessary to facilitate change and improvement of services The following were regarded as essential components of the development of advocacy services A rights based model of entitlement and service provision was regarded as the ideal climate for effective advocacy If there is not a legal right to a service how can an advocacy service function effectively Under a discretionary provision system it is sometimes unclear as to whether people have entitlement or not In such a setting irrespective of what level of advocacy is available people may have no choices but to accept inadequate or inappropriate services All the stake holders in emerging advocacy services should be consulted prior to putting the services in place particularly potential users There was a need to develop throughout the whole of the administrative system an ethos of demystifying language that alienates and bewilders people This required a holistic approach with a focus on the total person as distinct from fragmentation of the person s needs More inter agency cooperation is needed to cater for special needs groups such as the deaf there is a national shortage of sign language interpreters Advocacy services should adopt a bottom up approach be community based be delivered by full time staff A point made on a number of occasions was that advocacy services should not be seen as the panacea for all ills There is a need for groups involved in advocacy to work together Specifically the need for disability organisations to unite and form a more cohesive front and thereby exert a more focused influence on policy development emerged as an issue in some of the Forums Clearer legislative administrative and funding structures are required to support advocacy development Advocacy services need to be integrated into partnership systems between the State and the voluntary community sector with appropriate feedback loops Overall standards and procedures need to be set this may involve the establishment of a professional body for advocates There is a need for those services agencies at which the advocacy is directed to recognise the role of the advocate There would need to be mutual trust between the advocate and the agency or service involved The complexity of providing an advocacy service for people with intellectual disabilities was recognized They may not have the capacity to self advocate and there is an urgent need to appoint independent personal advocates to ensure their basic legal political and human rights In developing advocacy services it was suggested that some legislative change may be required An example given was that concerning the issue of consent by people with intellectual disabilities 5 5 Target Groups Identified There was a clear view that the provision of advocacy should be based on individual needs assessment for example not everyone with a disability has the same needs Specific groups likely to need advocacy were identified as follows Children born with disabilities Older people particularly those in long term residential care People with disabilities living in the community People with disabilities in residential care Travellers People with literacy difficulties or poor cognitive skills People with mental health difficulties Persons in long term psychiatric institutional settings Marginalized groups e g people in prison drug addicts homeless people Victims of abuse Young people People living in areas of social and economic disadvantage Unemployed people People who experience sudden or traumatic events It was emphasised that membership of any grouping does not automatically imply need for an advocate Needs vary from group to group and from person to person However those with severe learning difficulties and those in long term care settings were identified as groups who have a particular need for an advocacy service People who are housebound were seen as needing a domiciliary information advice and advocacy service Those in closed institutional settings were regarded as particularly vulnerable It was emphasised that it was critical that an advocacy service for such persons be independent of the agencies and authorities providing the services As already stated there was a view that an advocacy service depending on funding from these agencies may have potential conflict of interests It was also stated that there is a huge need for information and advocacy services among clients of psychiatric services The needs of those with low levels of literacy were seen as requiring greater attention in the context of ensuring that all sections of the public are fully informed about rights entitlements and existing services 6 Advocacy Service Development Needs There was a strong consensus about the issues and the development needs among all of the participating agencies The development needs identified referred in the main to training good practice resources and support structures While a variety of different advocacy methods are needed to cater for different situations resources training and support should be such as to foster an approach that maximises individual capability and promotes self advocacy At a more subtle level it must be recognized that people may lack the capacity to articulate their needs wishes Building the capacity to self advocate is therefore vital and should be funded as a key part of an advocacy service A need for a new ethos of service delivery for people with disabilities was identified For example one view expressed was that a new born child with disabilities should as of right be allocated an advocate from birth to ensure that s he had all that was needed to become a self actualising human being capable of fulfilling his her full potential This now happens in Canada where the advocate convenes a multi disciplinary team to draw up a package of care Those responsible for implementing the programme are identified and the advocate is assigned an ongoing monitoring role 6 1 Training A substantial need for staff training in advocacy skills was identified In this context it was felt that there was a need for skills audits amongst staff both full time and volunteers Training was required on two fronts generic advocacy training in the first instance with additional training in speciality areas as required The basic training should be geared towards heightening the sensitivities of advocates e g disability awareness training Training for peer advocacy was identified as vital There was also a need for training for a self advocacy role for example for people with disabilities Training should include Definitions of role boundaries and limitations Development of presentation negotiation research and case planning

    Original URL path: http://citizensinformationboard.ie/publications/social/social_research_advocacy.html (2015-10-08)
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  • Prompt Payments Archive
    Home Publications Prompt Payments Archive How to Order Full List of Publications Relate Journal Information Publications Research and Social Policy Publications Advocacy and Accessibility Publications Corporate Publications Voluntary Sector Publications Prompt Payments Archive Prompt Payments Report Apr Jun 2015 pdf Prompt Payments Report Apr Jun 2015 doc Prompt Payments Report Jan Mar 2015 pdf Prompt Payments Report Jan Mar 2015 doc Prompt Payments Report Oct Dec 2014 pdf Prompt Payments Report Oct Dec 2014 doc Prompt Payments Report Jul Sep 2014 pdf Prompt Payments Report Jul Sep 2014 doc Prompt Payments Report Apr Jun 2014 pdf Prompt Payments Report Apr Jun 2014 doc Prompt Payments Report Jan Mar 2014 pdf Prompt Payments Report Jan Mar 2014 doc Prompt Payments Report Oct Dec 2013 pdf Prompt Payments Report Oct Dec 2013 doc Prompt Payments Report Jul Sep 2013 pdf Prompt Payments Report Jul Sep 2013 doc Prompt Payments Report Apr Jun 2013 pdf Prompt Payments Report Apr Jun 2013 doc Prompt Payments Report Jan Mar 2013 pdf Prompt Payments Report Jan Mar 2013 doc Prompt Payments Report Oct Dec 2012 pdf Prompt Payments Report Oct Dec 2012 doc Prompt Payments Report Jul Sep 2012 pdf Prompt Payments Report Jul Sep 2012

    Original URL path: http://citizensinformationboard.ie/publications/pp_previous.html (2015-10-08)
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  • Previous Issues of Relate
    Workplace Relations Act 2015 which provides for a range of changes to the bodies and procedures that deal with industrial disputes and breaches of employment legislation It also contains information on proposed employment legislation including the Industrial Relations Amendment Bill 2015 and the National Minimum Wage Low Pay Commission Bill 2015 May 2015 Relate May 2015 pdf Relate May 2015 Word Relate May 2015 ePub This issue covers the recent changes to legislation on adoption guardianship and assisted human reproduction changes resulting from the Social Welfare Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2015 and some changes to the remit of Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission EU Supplement EU Supplement May 2015 pdf EU Supplement May 2015 Word EU Supplement February 2015 ePub This supplement covers significant recent EU developments in the broad areas of social policy and citizens rights April 2015 Relate April 2015 pdf Relate April 2015 Word Relate April 2015 ePub The April issue of Relate describes some recent policy developments in the area of housing including the publication of a new construction strategy and social housing strategy Other topics covered in this publication include provisions for homeless people proposals to change planning laws and new rules on how much people may borrow for a mortgage March 2015 Relate March 2015 pdf Relate March 2015 Word Relate March 2015 ePub The March issue of Relate describes the changes contained in the revised Water Charges Plan published in March 2015 and the new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission It also contains an update on personal insolvency and describes the new Competition and Consumer Protection Commission February 2015 Relate February 2015 pdf Relate February 2015 Word Relate February 2015 ePub The February issue of Relate describes the main social welfare payments for one parent families the Civil Registration Amendment Act 2014 and new

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  • Leaflets
    Guide to entitlements for people with disabilities 2015 An overview of entitlements services and supports for people with disabilities including education health social welfare employment housing and tax Guide to entitlements for people with disabilities pdf doc Guide to entitlements for people with disabilities as an eBook ePub format Publication date May 2015 Treoir maidir le teidlíochtaí do dhaoine atá faoi mhíchumas 2015 Forbhreathnú ar theidlíochtaí seirbhísí agus tacaíochtaí le haghaidh daoine atá faoi mhíchumas ina measc oideachas seirbhísí sláinte leas sóisialach fostaíocht tithíocht agus cáin Treoir maidir le teidlíochtaí do dhaoine atá faoi mhíchumas pdf doc Treoir maidir le teidlíochtaí do dhaoine atá faoi mhíchumas eBook ePub format Dáta foilsithe Iúil 2015 Guide to entitlements for over sixties 2015 An overview of entitlements services and supports for older people This covers a range of topics including social welfare pensions health tax legal matters and community and residential care Guide to entitlements for over sixties pdf doc Guide to entitlements for over sixties as an eBook ePub format Publication date May 2015 Treoir maidir le teidlíochtaí do dhaoine os cionn seasca bliain d aois 2015 Forbhreathnú ar theidlíochtaí seirbhísí agus tacaíochtaí le haghaidh daoine breacaosta Clúdaítear réimse topaicí ina measc leas sóisialach seirbhísí sláinte pinsin ceisteanna dlí cúram pobail agus cúram cónaithe Treoir maidir le teidlíochtaí do dhaoine os cionn seasca bliain d aois pdf doc Treoir maidir le teidlíochtaí do dhaoine os cionn seasca bliain d aois eBook ePub format Dáta foilsithe Meitheamh 2015 Information for School Leavers 2015 A guide for school leavers who are considering further education and training or who are starting work Information for School Leavers 2015 pdf doc Download Information for School Leavers 2015 as an eBook ePub format Publication date March 2015 Faisnéis d Fhágóirí Scoile 2015 Treoir do dhaoine atá ag fágaíl

    Original URL path: http://citizensinformationboard.ie/publications/providers/leaflets/ (2015-10-08)
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  • EU Citizens Information Leaflets
    Taxes Research and Social Policy Publications Advocacy and Accessibility Publications Corporate Publications Voluntary Sector Publications EU Citizens Information Leaflets These leaflets are free of charge and available to download They may also be available in your nearest Citizens Information Centre EU Citizens Information Leaflets 2013 The EU and its citizens pdf Publication date November 2013 How the EU works pdf Publication date November 2013 Moving within the EU pdf Publication

    Original URL path: http://citizensinformationboard.ie/publications/providers/EU_leaflets/ (2015-10-08)
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  • Benefits and Taxes
    EU Leaflets Benefits and Taxes Research and Social Policy Publications Advocacy and Accessibility Publications Corporate Publications Voluntary Sector Publications Benefits and Taxes 2015 The leaflet on Benefits and Taxes is published annually following the Budget and provides an outline of changes to social welfare payments and taxes Our other leaflets are reviewed periodically The Citizens Information Board s Benefits and Taxes publications for 2015 include Benefits and Taxes 2015 leaflet

    Original URL path: http://citizensinformationboard.ie/publications/providers/benefits_taxes.html (2015-10-08)
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