Advocacy and Independent Visitors


Appendix 9: DHSC Guidance Advocacy Standards for Looked After Children


Section 2.1, When to Appoint of this chapter was amended in October 2011 to reflect the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations, 2010 and Associated Guidance. The criteria for appointment of an Independent Visitor have been broadened and must be made where it appears to be in the best interests of the child.

1. Advocates

Any child/young person receiving a service from the Local Authority (Children's Services) can request access to an advocacy service.

For Looked After Children, children with a Child Protection Plan and Children in Need, the social worker should make a referral to the Advocacy Provider commissioned by Walsall.

Information must be provided to all Children In Need about how they can gain access to a suitably skilled advocate by giving details of the current commissioned service and also the names of other organisations, for example the Voice. 

2. Independent Visitors

2.1 When to Appoint

Social workers are requested to follow the referral process for the Advocacy Provider to access this service.

An appointment of an independent visitor for a Looked After child must be made

  • Where it appears to be in the best interests of the child to make such an appointment.

Any appointments made must be via the commissioned service.

The child must be consulted about the appointment and if he or she objects, the appointment should not be made.

If the child/young person or their social worker identifies a person who is known to the individual and wishes to become their Independent Visitor then the Social Worker will contact the commissioned service to discuss further.

2.2 Duties of Independent Visitor

The Independent Visitor will have a duty to make regular visits to the child and maintain other contact, by telephone and letter as appropriate.

The main purpose of the visits and contacts will be to befriend the child and give advice and assistance as appropriate.

2.3 Review of Appointment

The need to continue the appointment should be considered at the child's Looked After Reviews, and the child's wishes and feelings will be the main consideration in deciding the need for the continued appointment.