Realising the right to equal recognition for disabled people: commissioning statutory advocacy in England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Central Lancashire


Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) asserts the right to equal recognition and non-discrimination before the law. It places an obligation on countries to enable people to access support to exercise this right. This is viewed as a shift from ‘substituted decision-making’ to ‘supported decision-making’, with various models emerging. This article considers the right to equal recognition in the context of independent advocacy for people requiring social care, introduced, by the Care Act 2014 in England, as one such model. Data from surveys of local authority commissioners and advocacy providers are used to examine early implementation of this statutory duty. The legitimization of advocacy through statute was universally welcomed. However, our findings raise questions about its commissioning and implementation as an effective model for supported decision-making and the extent to which it ensures disabled people exercise their right to equal recognition.

Points of interest: Advocacy refers to support to enable people to have a voice so they can be fully involved in decisions about their lives. Local authorities are required by law to make advocacy available for people requiring social care. The way in which local authorities are making advocacy available differs across England. This reflects different understandings of advocacy. Cuts in funding by local authorities mean that some forms of advocacy are not being funded. Current arrangements for advocacy in England fall short of enabling disabled people to have a voice. A review of advocacy and the funding for all forms of advocacy is needed for disabled people to realise their rights.


Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Society
Early online date15 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Apr 2020


  • Rights, United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), equalities, human rights, independent advocacy, supported decision-making