Advocacy skills for health and social care professionals By Neil Bateman Jessica Kingsley 192 pages £15.95

This book is an updated version of the original important text. Written for health and social care professionals in practice, it will be useful to undergraduates in these professions as a textbook, and to experienced professionals reflecting on their practice. It ought to be read by general managers and elected members who need to understand the importance their staff attach to their advocacy function and its value to clients when done well.

The straightforward style of the writing, supported by simple, clear presentation, provides a handy-sized book.

The subject is accorded due seriousness, but it is neither dull nor esoteric. It has sufficient examples from practice throughout.

Scenarios are acknowledged as being weighted towards the social work profession. It would have benefited from more healthcare examples to reach the widest audience at levels in those professions that have yet to learn that these skills are shared between professions. Mention of the controversial claims of some workers to the advocacy role could have been more challenging and the risks to organisations and clients of corrupt or poor-quality advocacy is worth a section of its own.

There is discussion about lay and self-advocacy, but there is insufficient emphasis on the role of advocates in developing self-advocacy. This is increasingly important in the fields of mental health and learning disability. The second part of the book could have explored coaching in this context, and the role of supervision in advocacy.

Inevitably, the chapter on the law will have a shorter shelflife, particularly because of the implications of the Human Rights Act. But as the new law will generate texts to fill a library shelf of its own, the signpost to it in this book may be adequate.

The references could have been supplemented from the literature published since the first edition of this text and reference to Internet resources is conspicuously absent. The increasing use of the Internet by advocates and clients, particularly in seeking knowledge, and the use of news groups by those networking to share experiences and support, deserved discussion.

This practical guide should be on the library shelves of all universities and trusts as its price is at the limit of what individual practitioners may choose to spend on a textbook.