The right to have your voice heard and to participate in making decisions which affect you is a fundamental principle in a democratic society. It is a principle simply stated as "Nothing about you /without you".
Many people face challenges to their independence due to physical or mental illness, intellectual, physical or sensory disability, lack of family and community supports or an inability to access public services that meet their needs. Some people communicate differently and with difficulty and some people slowly lose their ability to make and communicate decisions as a condition, such as dementia, develops over time. Some are abused and exploited because of their vulnerability. Others feel disregarded or let down by healthcare services while some are harmed through adverse events or medical negligence.
In circumstances where people may be vulnerable, or have to depend on others, there is a need to ensure that their rights, freedoms and dignity are promoted and protected. Through support and advocacy the will and preference of a person can be heard and acted on; independently of family, service provider or systems interests.
The development of Sage Advocacy has been influenced by the scandals of Leas Cross in 2005, and Áras Attracta and Portlaoise Hospital in 2014. First established in June 2014 as a support and advocacy service for older people by the HSE, The Atlantic Philanthropies and Third Age, it was in 2016 asked to explore how it might address some of the more systemic issues relating to people with intellectual disabilities in the South-East. Sage Advocacy clg was established in September 2017 and on March 1st 2018 it assumed full responsibility for the governance and future development of the service. On July 1st 2018 the patient advocacy services, previously provided by Patient Focus, moved to Sage Advocacy which is now a support and advocacy service for vulnerable adults, older people and healthcare patients.
Sage was established as a support and advocacy service for older people in June 2014 by the HSE and The Atlantic Philanthropies with the support of Third Age. Funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies ended in November 2017 and on March 1st 2018 Sage Advocacy clg assumed responsibility for the future development of the service which is now available to vulnerable adults, older people and healthcare patients.
Sage Advocacy clg is governed by a constitution and a Board which is chaired by solicitor and former Law Reform Commissioner, Patricia Rickard-Clarke. A series of Board Committees oversees the work of the service.
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For Sage Advocacy to do the job that is expected of us we need to be independent of family, provider and systems interests. While our approach is to collaborate, where possible, we do also need to challenge, where necessary. We may also, from time to time, get our approach wrong simply because we are often last rather than first responders and situations are often quite complex by the time we are asked to become involved.
We value feedback on our work and approach. Feedback, of all forms, is important to us. If you would like to bring something to our attention, send us a comment or make a complaint please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Where a complaint cannot appropriately be handled internally, or you are not satisfied with the outcome, an Independent Complaints Review Panel can be asked to review it.
The guidelines below are intended to explain the process of making a complaint relating to services provided by Sage Advocacy and its representatives. All complaints are treated confidentially – this means that Sage Advocacy will only involve people who are directly involved in the complaint.
MAKING A COMPLAINT IN SIMPLE STEPS
All complaints received will be recorded on receipt and the Operations Manager/Executive Director will be made aware of them. Where appropriate, the Operations Manager/Executive Director will first request the relevant Sage Advocacy Representative and/or Regional Coordinator to deal with complaints informally. If you are not satisfied with the outcome you may engage in a more formal process which will involve:
If you have availed of the internal complaints process within Sage Advocacy and are not satisfied, you may request a review of your complaint by the Independent Complaints Review Panel. If you have not already done so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01 536 7330. A request for a review should be made within 30 days of the decision on the complaint. In certain circumstances the Panel may agree to extend this time limit. You will need to set out the grounds on which the review is being sought and explain why you believe that the decision on the complaint was wrong.
The Panel will decide if a review is necessary. If a review is not felt to be necessary, the Chair of the Panel will inform you in writing of the reasons for its decision. The Panel’s decision is normally final and conclusive. However, it may, in certain circumstances, be reviewable by the Ombudsman.