The National Advocacy Awards celebrates outstanding people, organisations and practice in the field of Independent Advocacy. The ‘Outstanding Service’ category recognises services that are making a difference locally by providing creative and innovative ways of evolving their support. Katrina Kelly, Service Delivery Director at Advocacy Focus has always maintained that her committed team of Senior Advocates and Advocates is top class, but now the recognition at a national level and beating off stiff competition just goes to prove it.


Advocacy Focus’s winning strand of advocacy is based on our IMHA activities following the publication of ‘A Right to be Heard. We worked hard with our multi-agency partners to establish a new ‘opt out’ policy.

In addition to tackling the real life hurdles of Information Governance, Caldicott Policies, the relocation of 19 wards to one specialist unit, and amalgamating 6 different Mental Health Act Administrators ways of working, an opt out policy for automatic referral at the point of Section was finally introduced after a long period of dedication by the team. As a result of the initiative, IMHA referrals increased by over 400% in the first year and on average we continue to work with 268 detained patients per month.


In addition, our very own Advocate Leanne Barber was a shortlisted finalist and voted Highly Commended in the ‘Outstanding advocate’ category, which recognises people who truly make a difference to the world through their advocacy practice. Well done Leanne!


The Awards Ceremony was held on October 12th in Birmingham, for more details, see