This week, NYAS has responded to the UK Government’s consultation on the proposed National Standards for Advocacy and Statutory Guidance in England. The consultation provided an opportunity for organisations and individuals to share their views and opinions of the proposals for the UK Government to consider, before finalising the standards and guidance. As a leading provider of advocacy in England, NYAS welcomes the consultation and the proposals to the National Standards to improve advocacy services for children and young people.  

NYAS’ response was informed through consultation with over 60 members of NYAS staff across England and Wales, including advocates, advocacy Service Managers, Operations Managers and members of NYAS’ Executive Board. Eight members of NYAS’ Campaigns Advisory Group (CAG), made up of care leavers from England and Wales who had all previously used advocacy services, were also consulted as part of NYAS’ response.  

Opt-out Offer of Independent Advocacy  

Earlier this year, the UK Government stated they were ‘working with the sector to implement an opt-out model of independent advocacy and committed to consulting on an opt-out model in the Care Review Implementation Strategy, ‘Stable Homes, Built on Love. An opt-out model of advocacy would mean that when children enter care, and at other key parts of their care journey, they are automatically connected to an advocate. An opt-out model of advocacy has been implemented in Wales since 2017 and NYAS Cymru were key partners in achieving this legislative change.  

NYAS was disappointed that the latest consultation did not include a proposal for an opt-out offer for independent advocacy in England. We believe this is a missed opportunity for the UK Government to deliver on their previous commitments made to children and young people. NYAS will continue to call for an opt-out model of independent advocacy in England to make sure all children and young people in care know their rights and have their voices heard. 


While NYAS welcomes the proposed National Standards, we are concerned that no funding has been allocated to local authorities to implement the standards. Local authorities are already facing severe financial difficulties running existing statutory provisions in social care because of the cost-of-living crisis, with chronic budget cuts from central Government contributing to this.  

The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care recommended the UK Government invest £2.6 billion into children’s services over the next four years to see reform.  The UK Government has instead only committed to £200 million, which is less than 8% of the recommended investment. In November NYAS signed a letter, alongside 28 other children’s charities, urging the Chancellor to provide funding to children’s social care in the 2023 Autumn Statement. With no funding being allocated in the Statement, NYAS is deeply concerned about what this will mean for children’s social care. We are calling on the UK Government to allocate sufficient and ringfenced funding for local authorities to implement the New National Standards. 

NYAS’ submission to the DfE consultation can be found here. A detailed version of our response can be found here.