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Why Advocacy Is a Great Field To Work In

Why Advocacy Is a Great Field To Work In

10 Nov 2022

Guest Blog — Written by Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow Mind

There are so many careers to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start, or what to change to if you want to try something different. If you’re looking for a career with real meaning, where you’ll be able to make a difference and genuinely improve people’s lives, advocacy could be for you.

What is advocacy?

An advocate is an independent professional that speaks for someone who may not be able to speak for themselves. Advocates help their clients achieve their goals by listening to them, helping them understand their rights, providing them with options and choices to help empower them to take control of their lives. Advocates do not make decisions on behalf of their clients.

Advocates all work towards the Advocacy Charter that underpins and governs the work they do.

What you need to work in advocacyEmpathy

Advocates need a high degree of empathy to be successful. Being able to understand how your clients feel, and why, is important in being able to help them be fully understood by organisations that have the power to make a difference in their lives.


You are working for the client and take instruction from the client to ensure their voice is heard.

Advocates must ensure, at all costs, that they take instruction from the client and do as instructed.

The advocate should not be influenced by other organisations or work in a way that disempowers clients.

Communication and Listening Skills

A good advocate is able to listen to their clients and understand what their clients’ issues are.

A good advocate is also able to communicate effectively to everyone they work with, whether that’s their client, the organisation they’re liaising with, case workers, or the local authority.

With the client, and advocate needs to be able to explain processes or situations. They need to take instruction from their client on how the client wants to proceed with their case. They also need to help empower the client to speak up for themselves.

With organisations, advocates need to be able to explain the needs of their client, why their clients want certain changes made, and how this should proceed.

Communication isn’t only knowing what to say, it’s about knowing when to not say anything. Advocates often need to keep information confidential. This is incredibly important and helps keep people safe.

Why advocacy is a great field to work inYou directly help resolve clients’ problems

One of the most rewarding things about working in advocacy is that you get to help people improve their situations.

Whether it’s creating action plans, improving access to resources or infrastructure, or just helping a client feel understood, advocacy has a direct positive impact on people who need help.

Advocates may play a role in helping vulnerable people take the first step to recovery, or greater and more secure sense of wellbeing.

You help to improve services

A large part of working in advocacy is dealing with social services, community organisations, and government agencies. Advocates facilitate meetings to discuss their clients’ needs with the organisation that can help. Throughout this process, as an advocate, you have a unique position to point out how processes could be smoother, simpler, or more effective.

The systems that influence these processes aren’t set in stone. Advocates have regularly made the case for why things need to change or improve, and had a great impact on making things better for other advocates and clients who they will never even meet.

You help clients improve their self-advocacy skills

One of the most important things advocates do is help their clients improve their ability to articulate their own needs and desires, to make them able to advocate for themselves.

Advocacy often starts with gathering information on behalf of the client, helping them understand their position, their rights, and who they need to speak to in order to make changes.

Eventually, advocates may be able to help their clients understand this information, and act on it, to such a point that they no longer require an advocate at all.

At this point, the client can be considered able to self-advocate, and are better able to navigate things by themselves.

Advocacy is an incredibly rewarding field, where you can directly help people in difficult situations, and empower them to improve their own lives.

Learn more about advocacy, or check out Morgan Hunt’s candidate section.

How To Get Into the Mental Health Sector

How To Get Into the Mental Health Sector

07 Nov 2022
“I’m a Psychology student and I want to get into the Mental Health sector but I have no experience! What can I do?”


The Mental Health Sector

With 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem each year in England and 1 in 5 people with suicidal thoughts, Mental Health charities all over England are fighting to tackle stigma and support those who are struggling.

Only a small fraction of people experiencing poor mental health can afford private therapy and for those who can't, there are thousands of charities offering a range of Mental Health services for those individuals.

What do Morgan Hunt do?

Morgan Hunt is proud to work with a number of these leading Mental Health charities across England helping to support their recruitment needs. With an ever-growing need for more passionate members of staff, our recruiters are there to help advise individuals on their steps towards a rewarding career.

From Advocacy to Peer Support; Recovery Work to Community Engagement, the Mental Health charity sector has plenty of careers on offer. For many already working in the sector, there are many avenues to trial. However for those new to the sector, it’s knowing what route to take and how to get there in the first place.

For many Psychology or Mental Health students, starting your career can be daunting and for many individuals, knowing where to start is the biggest conundrum.

So where do I start?

As a Mental Health specialist recruiter, I receive a lot of CVs from Psychology or Mental Health graduates. Unfortunately, many have no relevant experience and it is difficult to find them a role within the sector with no prior practice in the field.

To work in the Mental Health sector, you need passion, tenacity and emotional sensitivity. While you may have this already, it is important to prove this in your work experience. It is important to understand that someone experiencing a crisis is considered vulnerable and needs a calm-mannered person to help alleviate a situation.

If you are still in your studies, now is the perfect time to do some work experience. Whether this is volunteering or a 2-week work experience, there are many roles available to budding Mental Health workers and it will look fantastic on your CV.

What options do I have?


One brilliant option to consider is a Listening Volunteer at Samaritans. With intense training provided, Samaritans offer an exceptional service for anyone who is in need of someone to talk to.  You will gain the ability to not only understand people but manage difficult emotions and conversations.

The Homeless Sector

Recorded over the past year, there were 28,882 homeless households recorded in 2021/22. Homeless charities are constantly in the need of volunteers to support those who are sleeping rough. Whether that is befriending, being part of a soup kitchen or signposting service users, there are plenty of options to consider.

With 45% of people experiencing homelessness diagnosed with a mental health issue, this experience will give you an understanding of various mental health problems, including alcohol and drug abuse


Loneliness is on the rise, with a number of over-50s experiencing loneliness set to reach two million by 2025/2026. With loneliness often comes depression and for many elderly people, being able to talk to someone on the phone or in person can help improve those feeling low. Befriending is a service offered by many charities, including Age UK. You can do it over the phone or in person and is a fantastic opportunity to work on your people skills.

Peer Support For those students who might have lived experience of poor mental health, there is an option for a career in Peer Support. Whether it is anxiety or depression, if you are someone who has accessed therapy in the past, you could make a great Peer Support Worker. Using your personal experiences and empathy to support other people can be an incredibly rewarding role and help those struggling to open up to you.

Finding an opportunity that works for you is ideal. I suggest considering these options listed above during your studies. After you graduate, many people will be in the same boat as you looking for a career with no experience to help kick-start this. Whether it is once a week or a few weeks of work experience, some experience looks better than none and gives you an opportunity to try out the sector and figure out what you enjoy and don’t enjoy.

Once you have this experience under your belt, I can help you find a career within the incredibly rewarding sector.

Morgan Hunt’s Amara Howe specialises in Permanent and FTC Mental Health recruitment. To get in touch for advice or to ask about roles, please get in touch with her via email at [email protected]

IR35 - Genuine Solution Ahead?

IR35 - Genuine Solution Ahead?

12 Oct 2022

Is the repeal of the 2017 and 2021 reforms to the off-payroll working rules as part of last month’s ’Mini Budget’ statement the good news our contractors, employers and agencies wanted? What do you think? Are you ready for a change and do we actually know what the new legislation will mean?

Dave Hedges is a tax partner at Azets and says there is “an absence of fine detail” around how HMRC will manage the transition over the coming months. “While the changes are welcome and have been lobbied for, we are advising clients throughout the engagement chain to tread carefully pending clarification,” he said.

Some questions remain following the chancellor’s announcement that the Off-Payroll Working (OPW) rules are to be repealed from April 6th 2023. There are three main reasons for this:

Is it really going to happen? Nothing has changed yet and we have a Budget coming up in November, preceded by a government already doing a U-turn on its 45p tax rate plan. The possibility of further U-turns therefore seems significant. Fingers crossed that this promised repeal of the OPW rules goes ahead. But it’s not certain.

End-clients (both public and private sectors), agencies, umbrella companies, accountants and IR35/OPW advisers are all taking stock and wondering how this could affect their business. And yes, that goes for me too!

Contractors are realising that unless they have always been outside IR35 and working for ‘small’ companies (not affected by the OPW rules), that their own circumstances are complicated.  Notably where the contractor is:

currently with an umbrella, or

holding an SDS where the client has stated ‘inside IR35’, or;

regularly jumping between their PSC and an umbrella company depending on the IR35/OPW assessment.

At this stage (Q4 2022), nobody knows how the repeal of the OPW rules will work. That’s the unpopular, hard truth.  Many commentators are reaching for their crystal balls, with some suggesting that there will be new rules for contractors added onto the IR35 rules of old (2000), such as requiring contractors to complete Status Determination Statements. There’s even the odd whisper that end-clients will continue to determine IR35 status; that blanket bans on using PSCs will continue indefinitely, and that HMRC will declare some sort of ‘amnesty’ on prior SDSs with ‘inside’ results. As interesting as they are, these really are only opinions at this stage and should be taken as nothing more.

So what can we do now? Every part of the contracting chain needs to use this time to analyse the effects on their own businesses and it is vital that all get up to speed with IR35 version one (2000). 

Keep watching the contractor press for developments (the contractor ‘press’ that doesn’t just stick a press release up!).

Decide what you want to do -- if you could.

Collect and keep all evidence including SDS outcomes, online IR35 status tool outputs, end-client correspondence, contract review results, and working practices changes/opinions.

Find out about your personal situation now, to see what the options and (above all else) the risks are, and if a change in your status is feasible.

Speak to your client and find out what their position may be come April 6th 2023, especially if you are contracting with an organisation that has banned PSCs.

Take advice from only those that, as impartial as possible, understand all the rules (from 2000 onwards), and ideally those with hands-on experience of successfully defending IR35 HMRC investigations.

This could be great news for professional interim and self employed workers, it could be great news for large private companies and the public sector to attract and retain key skills to help them deliver growth and it could be great news for those involved in the supply of these people. For now, keep up to date, get planning and be ready, April will soon be here…

Whistleblowers in the NHS who expose the truth

Whistleblowers in the NHS who expose the truth

25 Mar 2015

Great leadership and management skills within the NHS cannot exist devoid of compassion.

Just shy of 100 years ago you could have been shot for treason for telling the truth regardless of whether the truth was a justified ‘truth’ or not.Everyone’s truth is different and so ‘truth’ as a yardstick is not necessarily an exact gauge on whether telling it is for good or for bad. Yet there have been recent instances where telling a perceived truth, perceived by the individual that is, or ‘whistleblowing’ has led to justice being done.So when is it right to whistleblow and is the government’s crusade in favour of whistleblowing a knee jerk, politically populist, reaction to investigative journalism.It is worth noting that NHS managers in general are highly trained individuals in public sector management. They are trained in management strategy where a lot of current practice evolves around strategic tools, theories, targets and measurement charts.The NHS buzz phrases are; ‘patient first’, ‘waiting unacceptable’, ‘waste reduction’, ‘cost minimisation’ and ‘end to end process’.  Lean charts and critical success factors measure better value, value being determined by the customer (the patient is now the customer), and process should be consistent around a ‘core value stream’ that leaders must be able to quantify.All this is fine but it will never change the culture of the NHS into an organisation with an overriding social mission that drives every NHS worker regardless of what they do or what level they work at. And the root cause of whistleblowing is about the lack of that social responsibility somewhere in the system.NHS managers have dual roles in much greater quantities than managers in other sectors need to have.. They require skills in persuasion, negotiation and influence to achieve a balance in the ‘NHS the business’ role and ‘NHS the carer’ role.The NHS business manager will use strategic management tools and techniques, and the lean six sigma strategies to plan, measure and manage what is a complex operation yet this cannot be done in isolation of the NHS ‘care manager’; two egg twins that share the womb but with different genes and different personas. Lean six sigma theories have their place and may have worked for Toyota and a plethora of other business types but the product of the NHS is distinctly different and a great deal less predictable than a car production line.Great leadership and management skills within the NHS cannot exist devoid of compassion. Managers must have the emotional connection that stops them in their tracks if the ‘production line’ simply does not meet the social mission, no matter how challenging to change. They must not allow themselves to be anesthetised from the practices of others or from mandates coming down through a series of hierarchies. On balance no one can deny that whistleblowing has led to much progress.  Exactly what that progress is, in this context, is open for debate but the overriding social mission of the NHS must make it clear to leadership that doing their job is about taking social accountability as much as it is about crafting the core value stream, and that social accountability must be the main thread that runs through each and every one of their actions and decisions that they make. This is not rocket science or car aerodynamics.Truth though has context too and the Doctor who was sacked by the mental health trust for raising concerns with her employer and the care worker who pushed the alarm about mistreatment both clearly spoke out against a deep belief that the system was not right.But why did they have to whistleblow? - Because no-one was listening and the culture of fear stopped others from changing the system, or there was no system in place that allowed a voice to be heard and investigated. Of course trying to control whistleblowing is tantamount to ‘gagging’ but somehow the NHS must  have a robust process in place where front line staff in health and care roles are heard and taken seriously without fearing for their jobs and it’s only the managers who can do this.At Morgan Hunt we strive to seek out candidates who can demonstrate leadership with a mission consistent with NHS values because we know that the future of the NHS is in the hands of the people that our clients employ. We’re all ‘customers’ of the NHS and if there is one thing that almost everyone agrees upon and that is we all want our NHS.For more information on healthcare management jobs email

Five social care careers you may not have considered

Five social care careers you may not have considered

05 Dec 2014

Whether you've always wanted to work in social care, or already work in social housing and want to explore new opportunities, Morgan Hunt shows you the careers you might not have considered within the sector from the people who know. We asked our top candidates how they came to be in the profession, what a typical day is like, why they do it & the pro’s & cons of the job to get some insight into what working in social care is really like, this is what they had to say...


Drug & alchohol worker

Chris Nicklin is an Alcohol practitioner for Aquarius in North England"I had previously worked in the construction industry for many years but after a drop-in available employment options, together with health factors, I decided to retrain. I started going to night classes on a level 2 certificate in counselling and over the years progressed through numerous qualifications resulting in a Master of Science in Psychotherapeutic Counselling.A typical day for me at work is never typical, you never quite know what you're going to get. This is what makes my job so varied, enjoyable and challenging. It can be difficult but very rewarding too.I can honestly say I have never for one moment regretted the decision to retrain, and although it has taken hard work, commitment and sacrifice, I wouldn’t change a thing".


Support worker

Vicki Shattock is a support worker at St Basils in the Midlands“I started off by training to be a theatre nurse. Although I qualified, I knew all along it wasn't the right thing for me. I wanted to have more direct support with people and make a difference to their lives. I am now working as a Support Worker for a homeless charity for 16-25 year olds.A typical day for me is dealing directly with their housing support needs, sorting out benefits, finding them appropriate housing. Liaising with multi-agency organisations, I also deal with varied mental health issues, teenage pregnancy, and other such health related issues. No two days are the same and some days can be so chaotic and emotionally challenging, but I know we make a difference to most of the young people we work with which is why I do it”.


Substance misuse officer

Sue is a substance misuse officer in Birmingham“After qualifying as a counsellor in the Summer of ‘99, I had gained a whole host of new skills and didn't know what to do with them. I bought the Birmingham Evening Mail and applied for a post at a prison, I was unsuccessful but was instead offered a post at HMYOI Stoke Heath as a CARAT worker and since then I haven't looked back.The reason I wanted to work in this field was that I wanted to make a difference to people’s lives by allowing them to explore their lifestyles. I wanted to be able to give them an opportunity to make informed choices in addressing their substance/alcohol misuse.  I now work in the community, predominantly with dependent drinkers, my current day to day duties involve; making comprehensive assessments, devising tailor made care plans, making risk assessments and conducting one to one sessions, and this is just the basics. I deal with the “here and now" issues my clients are faced with but my main aim is to support people who want to make lifestyle changes and want to do something about it! I actively promote recovery and the support networks that are available in the wider community whether they are abstinent or have controlled drinking.”


Operations Manager

Stephen Lewis is an Operations Manager for Great Places Housing Group in Merseyside“Like many people I ‘fell’ into a career with housing – I did a bit of volunteering at a local night shelter, and this ignited a bit of a spark in me to work in homelessness services.  I moved round a bit within my company, and ended up managing a couple of supported housing schemes and a floating support service.  It’s great seeing chaotic clients come into the service, and get the quality support that they need to stabilise their lives and move on into more independent accommodation.There’s no such thing as a ‘typical day’ in this role – as much of a cliché as it sounds, every day is different!  If you like being busy, and enjoy a lot of variety in your job, then supported housing is definitely a good choice. There’s a massive variety and range of opportunities to get involved in – great if you’ve got a short attention span like me!”


Substance misuse practitioner

Steve Guinan is a Substance Misuse Practitioner for Aquarius in ShrewsburyAfter working at care homes, homeless hostels, supporting housing projects and providing outreach support for many years I used this experience and ongoing training to become a substance misuse practitioner – it is a varied role where I can adapt to different surroundings, work with others, (staff members, medics, clients and partner agencies) working on my own managing caseloads, seeing people who need support (one to one and also in a groups/workshops) I also take part in multi-disciplinary meetings such as child protection meetings and community partnership forums. I have worked for and still continue to work for some fine organisations with fantastic people.  I have seen time and time again recovery is more than possible.   The positive changes that are made can result in the increase of self-confidence, motivation, feelings of achievement moving into a better place where everyone concerned can feel that forward pull, reassurance and safety. To be able to have the opportunity to be involved to help someone to bounce back is a key factor in my job satisfaction. 

If you’re feeling inspired to get involved in social work don’t hesitate to get in touch with a Morgan Hunt consultant today, our consultants work on a personal and consultative basis with our candidates. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can assist you with your job search.