Anyone working, or planning to work, as an advocate for people who need help in dealing with public services will want to read this book. Advocacy is an area of increasing importance in service provision, where new ways of working have to be found that increasingly create an enabling, rather than a providing, state. Advocacy has an important part to play in this shift.
Based on the experience of real advocates, "Speaking to power" is written in a vivid, jargon-free style. As well as practical chapters on 'what advocates do', using case studies from Scotland where important developments are taking place, the book discusses how advocacy fits into the broader scheme of things. Donnison describes and discusses examples of advocacy, with chapters dealing with management, training and evaluation of the work. The book concludes with a thought-provoking discussion of various strategies which help vulnerable people speak to power on more equal terms.
"Speaking to power" will be particularly helpful to advocates working with people who have mental health or learning difficulties, for doctors, nurses and social workers involved in advocacy, and for students preparing to enter those professions. It will also be of interest to students of social policy and other readers concerned about Britain's broader social and political development.
David Donnison is Professor Emeritus in Glasgow University's Department of Urban Studies, and Convener of one of the voluntary agencies providing advocacy services in Scotland.