NYAS Cymru has played an instrumental role in the development of a new national framework aimed at ensuring independent professional advocacy provision makes a positive difference to the lives of children and young people in Wales.

The Independent Professional Advocacy: National Standards and Outcomes Framework for Children and Young People in Wales, which has just been published by the Welsh Government, identifies the outcomes children and young people can expect in relation to children and young people’s advocacy. It provides a framework of specific standards that advocacy providers are required to meet in the delivery of their services for children and young people and against which their effectiveness can be measured.

National Executive Director for NYAS Cymru, Sharon Lovell who is also Chair of the All Wales Advocacy Providers Group, played a central role in shaping the five ‘Advocacy Outcomes’ that underpin the new framework.

The outcomes are designed to ensure children and young people have:

· Good quality independent advocacy easily available and accessible
· Their privacy and confidences respected, and their wellbeing safeguarded and protected
· The right to be valued for their diversity
· Services that empower them to take the lead in relation to advocacy intervention and
champion their rights
· A place at the heart of designing, planning, monitoring and evaluating the advocacy provision.

Each outcome has a set of required standards aligned to it and an explanation of how advocacy providers, and the local authorities commissioning them, can prove those standards are being met and the overarching outcomes are being achieved.

The Framework builds on and replaces the National Standards for the provision of Children’s Advocacy Services (2003). Alongside the Framework a National Approach to Statutory Advocacy has been adopted to ensure all service providers are providing the same level of information on a national reporting template. This will allow data to be collected on the issues affecting children and young people who are care experienced and the difference advocacy intervention makes.

Commenting on the launch of the Framework, Sharon Lovell, NYAS Cymru National Executive Director said, “We are delighted to see the publication of the Independent Professional Advocacy National Standards and Outcomes Framework for Children and Young People in Wales by the Welsh Government, after working hard to help bring it into being.
“The most powerful difference the framework gives us is the “active offer of advocacy” – which is written into the required standards. This will ensure that all children and young people who first come into care will be seen by an advocate to explain their rights and entitlements and resolve any issue they need support with at an early stage. The active offer is also available for children and young people who are subjected to child protection plans and in need of care and support.
“This is a major milestone in the history of advocacy in Wales. It will help to ensure the voices of children and young people are heard and that they are part of important decision-making processes in their life. NYAS Cymru acts to always be on the side of the child and this framework strengthens our work to do just that.”