Cancer, Older People and Advocacy

Society’s Return on Investment in Older People’s Cancer Advocacy (Cancer, Older People and Advocacy)

We began our innovative project in July 2012 recruiting older people affected by cancer then training and supporting them to advocate for their peers.

Between July 2012 and March 2014 we trained 56 peer advocates who in turn provided independent advocacy support to 174 older people affected by cancer. We also recruited 62 older people affected by cancer as National and Local Cancer Champions, these people are now very influential helping us shape and guide our project.

On 25th March 2014 we published our first book ‘Every Step of the Way“: 13 stories illustrating the difference independent advocacy support makes to older people affected by cancer. 

From May 1st 2014 thanks to continuing support from BIG Lottery Fund and Macmillan Cancer Support, the project expanded to include 9 delivery partners across England and for the first time 1 in Wales.

These partners have been delivering services from the outset: Beth Johnson Foundation in Staffordshire; Dorset Advocacy and Help & Care in Dorset and Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre in Sefton.

These new partners began delivering services during 2014: AgeUK BristolKnowsley Pensioners Advocacy Information Service (KPAIS); Getting HeardIndependent Community Advocacy Network North (ICANN) in Lancashire; Sandwell Advocacy;  and Age Connects Cardiff.  In 2015 we were delighted to have welcomed new delivery partner Impetus delivering services in Brighton and Hove, AgeUK Northumberland and Advocacy in Barnet.

One of the key outcomes that this project delivered was the ability for us for the first time to use our qualitative data, to attempt to quantify in financial terms, the value of independent advocacy to older people when facing challenges about how their lives will progress. We were very proud to have the benefit of Macmillan Cancer Support and EY to produce this thought- leading publication.

Our aim was to evidence the benefits advocacy services for older people with cancer. 

► EY utilised an approach called Society’s Return on Investment (SROI), which we previously applied to a set of other services commissioned by Macmillan. This approach considers the cost and benefits of the service for the service user, the health and care system (including Macmillan and OPAAL), and for society more broadly. This is set in the context of a counterfactual which considers the social costs of cancer in the absence of the advocacy service. 

► EY’s work involved an in depth review of three case stories, written by three service users together with their advocates, which had been selected by Macmillan and OPAAL. 

► The costs associated with cancer and the benefits associated with the advocacy service have been categorised by bearer of the cost / benefit, as well as the type of cost / benefit, including: 

► Financial – the direct cost to the health care system of cancer treatment, indirect cash losses to service users as a result of their diagnosis, indirect cash benefits to the service users as a result of advocacy 

► Economic – improved employment and reduced time off work for family members 

► Social/experiential – enhanced care, outcomes, wellbeing and experience 

► The results from the three case stories have been extended to the wider population of 898 cases, which represents a 12 month period from October 2015 and September 2016, on the basis of the number of support hours provided. 

► EY found that the SROI of the advocacy service as a whole is 6.7x – in other words £6.7 is generated for every £1 spent. Across the 898 cases this equated to a £6.31m net financial, economic, and social benefit. 

The report is free to download


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