Watching Brief

The core element of an advocacy partnership is a simple one; an instruction. The advocacy partner instructs the advocate what to say and what to do and the advocate obeys the instruction to the best of their ability. It's a very simple and straightforward relationship in which the partner holds power. As the advocate plays no role in determining the care received by the advocacy partner, they can truly and independently represent the views of the partner as if they were their own. This relationship is proven to work well and most advocacy partners feel that it is of benefit to them.

The benefits for advocacy partners have also been recognised across the care system and there has been a steady rise in the provision of independent advocacy across the country. The situation that has always been problematic for advocacy is where the partner - through incapacity or for any other reason - is unable to voice their views, hopes, concerns and complaints to the advocate. In other words, what does an advocate do when their partner is unable to express their views and instruct them?


This watching brief sets out a viable and principled approach to Non-Instructed Advocacy (NIA) that retains the fundamental practices of advocacy whilst avoiding the necessity to revert to best interest approaches or a temptation to walk away. The Watching Brief (WB) is the practical core of NIA and enables the advocacy partner, through the advocate, to have a say in their own care and treatment.


Asist provides specialist independent advocacy support focused on one-to-one, issue based advocacy services for people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and/or mental health issues.


Advocacy is about enabling people who have difficulty speaking out to speak up and make their own, informed, independent choices about decisions that affect their lives.


Asist provides the Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy service (IMCA) and the Independent Mental Health Act Advocacy service (IMHA) in Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent. Asist also offers advocacy to people in Stoke on Trent through a number of specialist projects including Care Act, BME, NHS Complaints and Parents Advocacy.

Asist is nationally recognised for developing, writing and promoting the Watching Brief guidance which outlines the core principles that underpin all Non-Instructed Advocacy support services across the UK.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter


T: 01782 845584


© 2020 ASIST

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Asist Advocacy Services is a registered charity number: 1048075
Asist is a company registered in England - company number: 3068125
Registered office: Asist, Winton House, Stoke Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2RW

Social Value.jpg
Disabiliy Confident.png
advocacy awards.png