Books reviewed by James Woodward

Speaking for others

Speaking up: a Plain Text Guide to Advocacy (4-volume set)Speaking up: a Plain Text Guide to Advocacy (4-volume set),
John Tufail and Kate Lyon,
Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2007,
ISBN 978 1 84310 474 2: £45, pbk,
Book 1, Introducing Advocacy, 96pp 119 illustr;
Book 2, Rules and Standards, 48pp 65 illustr;
Book 3, Listen Up! Speak up!, 56pp 61 illustr;
Book 4, Advocacy in Action, 72pp 33 illustr.

In the world of health and social care there are many vulnerable people who are often unable to speak up for themselves. Professionals (and carers) often speak for the client and prevent the client from being heard. This is critical when rights may be overlooked or denied.

The authors are directors of People’s Advocacy Network in Wellington, New Zealand. They both use their theoretical and practical wisdom in providing a resource for others.

Volume One (Introducing Advocacy) introduces the concept of advocacy. It explores appropriate advocacy models. These include peer group supportive models; campaign advocacy; intervention advocacy; volunteer and health complaints advocacy. This volume introduces a process that asserts an equal partnership between advocate and user. The ‘package’ aspires to expand the life skills of the individual with learning difficulties. Particular attention is given to literacy needs.

Volume Two (Rules and Standards) explores the idea of rules and standards for advocacy and looks at the advocacy charter. This volume also tackles the difficult ethical area of confidentiality. The authors pay particular attention to the design of the material and its use in both formal and informal learning situations.

Volume Three (Listen up! Speak up!) explores how to be a good advocate and asks the reader to examine their learning how to listen to and work with and advocacy partner. There is a particularly useful section on how to prepare for and behave in meetings.

Volume Four (Advocacy in Action) is honest with the reader about some of the problems that can occurs in advocacy partnership. It tackles such issues a dependency or conflict.

The result is an excellent theoretical and practical overview of Advocacy. The books should be especially commended for their clarity and attractive layout and design.

James Woodward