VITAL advocacy services that give people a voice and control; secure their rights and represent their interests; should now be more widely available in Wales thanks to new amendments to the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill.

On Tuesday February 11, the National Assembly for Wales voted in favour of amendments to add duties to provide access to advocacy services to the Bill, and remove potential powers to charge for these services.

Age Cymru commends the Welsh Government and National Assembly for Wales on this move.

We have long campaigned for rights to independent advocacy services for older people in Wales.

Age Cymru called for advocacy duties to be included in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill and then for advocacy services to be provided free at the point of use, when the threat of charging emerged.

We are therefore delighted with these developments, which secure in Welsh legislation, the provision of advocacy services, free at the point of use.

This is great news for us and all the organisations who joined us in a united call for advocacy in the Bill last year. Most importantly, it is great news for people in Wales who should benefit from improved access to advocacy services in future.

If any of your readers feel that they, or someone they know, may benefit from advocacy, they can contact Age Cymru’s advice line on 08000 223 444 to find their nearest service.

Amy Clifton

Policy Advisor, Age Cymru