Significant group of children being denied advocacy

The Children’s Commissioner has revealed that there is a significant group of children being denied access to advocacy – despite having a statutory entitlement to it.

The new report claims that 29 per cent of local areas did not know how complaints advocacy for children in receipt of health services was delivered, and, in some local authorities, fewer than 75 per cent of care leavers’ referrals for advocacy are being taken forward.

The new report, Advocacy for children, makes several key recommendations. It stresses that local authorities should be required to set out a clear strategy for a local offer for all children eligible to advocacy, showing how advocacy will be delivered and should work towards a highly visible universal advocacy service for children and young people up to the age of 25.

The research builds on research by the Children’s Commissioner in 2016, which also explored the provision of advocacy across England and found substantial variation across local authorities, with spend per child or young person ranging from £2 to £668 each year.