Advocacy Focus gains new Advocacy Quality Performance Mark (QPM) The QPM is the UK’s only independent quality performance mark for organisations offering independent advocacy; an essential service for people who need support to express their needs and have increased choice and control in their lives. To gain the QPM, independent advocacy providers have to undergo a rigorous self-assessment process and policy review. This is followed by a structured site visit for NDTi assessors to meet advocates and the people they support. As well it being good practice for Local Authorities to provide advocacy to people at risk of exclusion, commissioners are required to provide statutory independent advocacy under the Mental Capacity Act, Mental Health Act, and more recently the Care Act. The Advocacy QPM provides them with a robust benchmark to measure independent advocacy services, ensuring they select the very best providers. Justine Hodgkinson, Chief Executive Officer at Advocacy Focus said: “To renew and extend our QPM Award is a significant achievement for our organisation and involved a comprehensive review of our advocacy service. I am delighted that our team passed the process with flying colours and we are proud to continue providing QPM standard advocacy for members of our communities that need it the most, for the next three years and beyond” Gail Petty, QPM Manager and Lead for Advocacy and Rights at NDTi said: “The Advocacy Quality Performance Mark is only awarded to advocacy organisations who can demonstrate that they are providing excellent services to people often experiencing challenging situations in their lives. It indicates that they have the training and policies in place to ensure people’s rights are upheld and their preferences are heard and responded to.” Originally developed by Action for Advocacy (A4A), the Department of Health funded NDTi to review and revise the QPM in 2014, working with providers, users and commissioners of advocacy services. The application process was streamlined to be as straightforward as possible, while retaining the rigour required to ensure that high standards are met. Further information can be found at www.qualityadvocacy.org.uk.