Frequently Asked Questions:

Answers to some of the questions we are most frequently asked. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for, please contact Ceartas here.

Who do you work with?

We work with Adults (16 years and over), who are normally resident in East Dunbartonshire, and who fall into one of our service user categories:

  • Learning Difficulty or -Disability
  • Mental Health
  • Older People
  • Physical Disability
  • Sensory Impairment

Do I need a diagnosis before I can access your service?

No, you do not need a diagnosis of anything. Sometimes the most valuable thing that Advocacy can do is to support a person to access other services or support because they have never sought a diagnosis. We are happy to work with people who self-identify as belonging in any of our service user categories.

Can you tell me what I should do in a given situation?

No, Advocacy does not give advice. We can give you information about your rights and your options in any given situation, but we do not tell you what you should do. You make your own decisions, and Advocacy will support you to follow through on that decision.

How long does your service last?

Ceartas offers an Issue-Based Advocacy Service. If you have a very short-term issue like a Social Work meeting or a DWP Assessment, you might only be with the service for a week. If you have a longer-term issue like a housing problem or going through Adult Support and Protection procedures, you could be with the service for several months.

Once the issue is resolved we will close your case, but you can always pick up the phone if another issue arises for which you need Advocacy support. We have service users who have been with us for years, working through one issue, closing that case, opening a new case for another issue, and so on.

Can you help me with my shopping / housework / gardening?

Ceartas can help you to find a service that will provide you with the support you need, but an important part of our remit is that we are independent of any other service provider. We do not provide any paid support services, and we do not provide care services on either a short- or long-term basis. Ceartas is not registered with the Care Inspectorate, and our staff are not necessarily trained or qualified to provide care.

Do you tell Social Work / Health / Housing all my business?

No we do not (with a couple of obvious exceptions). Ceartas is an independent charity with our own Board of Directors and our own confidentiality and privacy procedures. In the normal course of events, we will only give third parties information about you with your agreement and consent. We treat any personal information you tell us as strictly confidential, and we will only share the information you want shared with the people with whom you want it shared.

The only exceptions to this rule are if you disclose to us that a child or a vulnerable adult are at risk of harm, or that you disclose information about a serious crime or an act of terrorism. Under those circumstances, we are legally obliged to pass that information on, but we would always tell you that we were going to do so, and try to support you with whatever process follows that.

How much does Advocacy cost, and who pays for it?

Advocacy, like the NHS, is free at the point of delivery. We work with some of the most vulnerable people in the community, so we do not want cost to be a barrier to people accessing our service.

Ceartas receives funding from the Scottish Government and East Dunbartonshire Council for our core work, and we apply for other pieces of funding from private trusts, and other funding sources like the Life Changes Trust, the Big Lottery Fund, and SCVO.

How is Ceartas organised and can I get involved?

There are currently have 7 full-time and 3 part-time members of staff at Ceartas. The organisation is managed by a volunteer Board of Trustees and in partnership with the Service User Forum. Ceartas is a membership organisation: membership is open to anyone with an interest in our work who supports the values that we promote across East Dunbartonshire.

How long has Ceartas been around?

Ceartas was established back in 1994 as the North Glasgow and Strathkelvin Advocacy Service, managed by Alzheimer Scotland Action on Dementia. However, the new Mental Health Act in 2003 specified that that Advocacy Services should be independent of any other service provider. Ceartas was therefore formed in 2004 and took over advocacy provision for older people, before expanding to our current service user groups in 2008.

Are you the same as solicitors?

Ceartas does not provide legal advice and our advocacy staff are not legally trained. We have no connection with the Faculty of Advocates.

Independent Advocacy is about helping people speak up for what is important to them. It ensures that people’s rights are upheld – and this can include legal rights, for example the right to a solicitor. Advocacy staff have had training on relevant legislation and are able to help individuals understand what this means and why it is being used but they don’t provide legal representation. If a person needs a lawyer then an advocacy worker can help them find a lawyer.

I’m a carer, I advocate for my relative…

Advocacy is not there to take away your role and voice as a carer: we recognise that carers and professionals also advocate for the person, and this is respected throughout our involvement. Advocacy will make sure your relative’s views are considered as part of any planning that is taking place.

Advocacy is an independent voice and we are only there to represent the views of your relative. We are independent: that means we are not employed by other services such as health and social work and we have no emotional connection with the person and so we are free from conflict, which allows us to provide independent representation for the individual.

What does Ceartas mean?

Ceartas (cyɻ-tas – pronounced KEIR-tis) is a Gaelic word meaning ‘equality, justice and fairness’. These are the values which we promote through our work with the people of East Dunbartonshire.

Do you do anything else apart from advocacy?

Aside from our core advocacy work, we run peer support groups for some of the people we work with, five Dementia Cafés and the ABI Café.

Ceartas is part of the OPAL partnership and the East Dunbartonshire Dementia Network.

We also run short-term projects focusing on self-advocacy, confidence and negotiating skills, and using Self-Directed Support. These have used a variety of media: football and sport; creative writing; and visual arts.

Can I get advocacy if I live in a care home, or I am in hospital?

Our Advocacy Workers frequently visit people who live in East Dunbartonshire in hospitals across Glasgow, or if they are in Respite Care outside the area. If you do not live in East Dunbartonshire, you can still contact us and we will provide you with the contact details of the advocacy provider in your area.

How do I make a referral?

Contact the team on 0141 775 0433 or – you can self-refer or you can refer someone else. The personal information we ask for such as age, address, telephone number is necessary for us to support you and we would never share this with third parties without your agreement and consent. We treat any personal information you tell us as strictly confidential and will only share what you want shared with the people with whom you want it to. Please see our Privacy Statement & Policies for more information.

What area do you cover?

We support adults (aged 16 and over) who are normally resident in East Dunbartonshire. There is advocacy provision in every local authority area in Scotland, so even if you are not in East Dunbartonshire you can find an advocacy service.