Click for a visual aid to describe what we at POhWER do.

POhWER is a charity and membership organisation. We provide information, advice, support and advocacy to people who experience disability, vulnerability, distress and social exclusion.

POhWER was set up in 1996 and was developed by service users who, tired of others making assumptions about their capabilities and views, wanted equal access to information and a voice of their own.

Reflecting our origins, the majority of our Board are people who count as disabled under the Equality Act and our membership is largely drawn from people who have used our services.

Where we do it

POhWER works in over 50 local authority areas across the country, delivering the full range of statutory and non-statutory services.

POhWER's vision is:

"To be the best client-led information, advice, support and advocacy service in England. We will empower people to have a voice, make choices, enforce their rights and make a positive difference to their lives and work with them to plan and deliver the services that matter to them."

We believe our role is:

"To enable our clients' voices to be heard, speaking for them when they can't and supporting them when they can."

Our values:

Our values are our core principles, the qualities and beliefs that drive all of our work. These have evolved over the years and can now be restated to ensure we put people at the heart of everything we do:-

  • Professional – We are committed to working in a confidential and person-centred way – being professional, respectful, reliable, honest and independent
  • Empowering – We will empower people to develop their skills and confidence, stand up for their rights and regain control – creating a culture of enablement, not dependency
  • Open, free and fair – We will deliver services that are free to use and accessible to all members of the community while encouraging and valuing differences and diversity and always working in a fair and open way
  • Positive difference – We will ensure that our passion for our work results in a positive difference to people’s lives and use the learning from our casework to have a positive impact on the delivery of services in the future
  • Local – We will engage with local communities in the areas that we serve, understanding their specific needs and determining the best way to meet these
  • Engaging – We will meaningfully listen and engage with people and groups to ensure they are involved in the design, delivery and evaluation of our services, ensuring we are a pioneering client and needs led organisation

This is what POhWER promises to our clients when we are contacted

The POhWER promises

Whatever your reason for contacting us, we will:

  • provide you with accurate information about our services and your options within
  • let you know if we are not the best people to help you and explain who else might be able to help
  • support you to contact other organisations if you would like us to do so
  • provide information in a format that meets your needs; for example, Easy read, large print or inanother language
  • use plain language and no jargon
  • treat you politely and with respect at all times

When you phone we will:

  • answer your call within four rings if we can and to reply to any voice mail message within one working day
  • give you our name, listen to you and explain your options
  • ring you back within two working days if we cannot give you the support you need straightaway

When you email or write a letter to us we will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your letter within two working days, either by writing back to you or by calling you on the telephone if you ask us to
  • explain your options and agree what the next step might be

When you are helping someone else get our support we will:

  • tell you about how we can work with you and the person you are helping
  • explain about consent and agree who we should contact, how and when

If you or your representative tell us you need the support of an advocate we will:

  • make contact within five working days
  • listen to what you have to say, respect your views, experience and privacy
  • give you all of the available options and information you may need to help you decide what you want to do
  • keep in touch with you at least once a month
  • tell you when we are going to close your case and why we are doing that
  • delete any records we hold about you 14 months after we last hear from you (unless the law says otherwise)

If we need to meet we will:

  • contact you to agree a date, time and place that suits us both
  • arrange for a signer, translator, or interpreter if you let us know what help you need
  • wear a POhWER identification badge so you know who we are
  • listen to what you have to say and let you know your options