Since the demise of Action for Advocacy earlier this year there has been a degree of uncertainty in the advocacy community as to which organisation would be taking on the administration of the Advocacy Quality Performance Mark. I’m delighted to report that this has now been settled as the National Development Team for Inclusion has recently accepted responsibility for administering the Quality Performance Mark for Advocacy organisations.
I worked closely with Martin Coyle as he developed this quality mark, initially as an observer then once the quality mark was introduced to the sector as one of his Assessors. Martin is to be congratulated on an excellent job, the QPM quickly became the must have standard for advocacy services. When I visited advocacy services I was always struck by the deep commitment of trustees, managers, staff and volunteers to the introduction of quality standards allowing their services to be independently assessed against these organisational standards, then setting up systems and mechanisms to ensure the standards, once introduced were maintained. It is great news that the QPM is not to be lost to the sector. If you have any enquiries about the QPM they should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here at OPAAL we are currently developing new standards for advocates supporting older people affected by cancer. We are able to draw on our 18 month pilot working with over 100 volunteers supporting 140 older people. We have learned a great deal during this time form our volunteers and those they support as well as the advocacy services providing this support. For the first time in the sector we have been able to gather comprehensive information on a new national database called SAM (System for Advocacy Management) to inform this work. We are also fortunate in being able to tap into Macmillan Cancer Supports expertise in this area. We hope to be in a position to publish these standards early next summer.