About Angel Advocates

The idea for Angel Advocates came from CEO, Paula Ward. She says it was an idea born of a combination of events in her life at that time, which caused her not just to realise how important having a voice was, but also the disparity that exists in access to advocacy and legal advocacy.

In 2019, Paula was in the discernment process for ordained ministry, as well as studying for a law degree, something she viewed as very much a ‘Plan B’. As well as all this, Paula was volunteering as an independent advocate in Dumfries and Galloway, where the provision and delivery of independent advocacy, especially statutory advocacy, is different from here in England and Wales.

As if her workload were not enough, Paula was also representing her father as a lay person in a first-tier Land Registration Tribunal, because her father was unable to afford legal advice and legal aid was not available for his particular type of civil dispute. Paula’s father was daunted and afraid of the legal process and later admitted, he would have given in and given up his land, were it not for the legal knowledge and persistence of his daughter. As it was, the other party conceded, but it brought home to Paula and her father that many more people must feel just as daunted and afraid as they had, but without any access to legal advocacy. Therefore, there must be people, like her father who were giving in and giving up, who had good strong legal cases, surely this was an injustice? From her studies, Paula was sure that the legal system in England and Wales was fair and just, but getting to the stage where you were before a judge was not.

Paula also saw that the way in which independent advocacy was provided was different in England and Wales, as opposed to her experience in Scotland. Many providers in England and Wales depend on the Local Authority issuing a contract for statutory independent advocacy to providers for individual clients, which Paula felt took away the all-important ‘independent’ element. Paula believes that the power of advocacy lies in enabling and empowering clients, which includes choosing advocacy and choosing an advocacy provider, rather than the Local Authority appointing one based on a financial contract. It also raised the question for Paula of, how independent could a provider be, if they were reliant on client by client contracts from the very organisations clients needed advocacy for.

Paula’s faith and discernment journey was the final piece needed for Angel Advocates, as a concept, to be born. It taught Paula the need every person has to be to be understood and accepted, just as they are, not as we might want them to be, or as other organisations might want them to be. Paula recognises this as compassion and for her it is a God given Grace.

Following the completion of her law degree, Paula set about researching how an organisation like Angel Advocates might be brought to fruition, if it was even possible? It was, it is, it will be…

Angel Advocates operates as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Charity Number 1206158

Angel Advocates subscribes to the values of the Advocacy Charter

Click here to see the charter