Created in 2006 by Wendy Silberman and Robert Nisbet, Integritas Advocacy CIC was a Community Interest Company that provided independent social work, consultancy and training across the broad spectrum of services that supported adults with complex care needs.  As we became established, we decided to invest all of our profits into establishing a FREE advocacy service to support individuals identified through the “Vulnerable People’s Panel” in the most deprived communities of Nottingham City. This advocacy service was awarded a “beacon site for resolving multiple disadvantage” by the Cabinet Office and was designed and led by Jayne Jackson, a registered Mental Health Nurse, and supported by a Board of professionals and service users. Over time, Jayne and the Board transformed this service into its own independent charity.  Located within the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service building (see photo) and currently led by Victoria Burrows and Kerry Devine, the charity – now called Improving Lives – is still going strong as a support service with a team of dedicated staff and volunteers.

During our tenure managing and supporting this service we subsidised it through our training, by successfully obtaining grants, and by undertaking these projects:

Supporting people to return home – we reviewed individuals placed in secure care, and were able to bring back each person closer to home to be successfully managed in lesser security and/or the community. This generated £180,000 worth of recurrent savings for the local Primary Care Trust;

Reviewing individual placements in Residential Care Homes – we assessed the appropriateness of individuals’ placements and provided independent scrutiny of safeguarding concerns;

Facilitation of a Regional Network of Mental Health advocacy services – this culminated in two Regional Conferences;

Organisation and delivery of a Regional Launch of Positive Practice, Positive Outcomes – best practice guidance in supporting adults with learning disabilities in the Criminal Justice System;

Conducting a National Training Needs analysis of Prison Healthcare Staff;

Reviewing Prison Mental Health Care within Doncaster Prisons.