Advocacy and Independent Visitors


The Children’s Views, Wishes and Feelings Standard
Regulation 7


Children and young people will be provided with information on how a child can secure access to an independent advocate.


This chapter was slightly amended in regard to the change to the Disclosure and Barring Service.


1. Advocates
2. Independent Visitors
2.1 When to Appoint
2.2 Duties of Independent Visitor

1. Advocates

Community Directors must ensure that each child has access to an independent person whom they may contact directly about personal problems or concerns at the home, (such as an advocate, children’s rights officer, adult family member, personal adviser, befriender, visitor acting on behalf of an organisation carrying on the home, independent visitor, or mentor).

The person can represent or assist a child at a meeting (for example a Looked After Review), assist in making a complaint or bringing a matter to the attention of staff and managers or the Regulatory Authority.

2. Independent Visitors

2.1 When to Appoint

An Independent Visitor may be appointed for a child in the following circumstances:

  • Where there is infrequent communication between a child and parent; or
  • Where there has been no contact between a child and parent for the preceding 12 months;
  • And it is in the best interests of the child to make such an appointment.

Where an appointment is considered necessary, the child's social worker will identify whether there is a person already known to the child and independent of the local authority who may be suitable. If there is not, each authority will have its own procedures for appointment.

Independent Visitors must be suitably qualified and have undergone necessary checks, such as the Disclosure and Barring Service. The child must be consulted about the appointment and if he or she objects, the appointment should not be made.

2.2 Duties of Independent Visitor

The independent visitor should undertake 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.