SCIE Annual Review 2009-10

Promoting participation

We need to have people involved right from the very word go, identifying what their needs are

Dave Williams, Manager, Manchester Carers Forum

All of SCIE's work is aimed at improving outcomes for people using services and carers. This can only be successful if we listen to what people think about existing services and understand what they want and what needs to change.

Through our Single Equality Scheme, SCIE ensures that all of our work promotes equality and diversity and evaluates the impact that this has on our stakeholders. We are also committed to providing specific knowledge and guidance on social care for seldom-heard groups. This year saw the publication of guidance on good practice in social care with refugee and asylum seekers. We also produced a digital guide for commissioners on working with user-led organisations (ULOs). The guide provides local authority commissioners with all they need to know to meet the policy requirement to develop at least one ULO in their area. The guide was successfully user-tested with commissioners from East Sussex, who said that they would use the tool to increase their understanding of the benefits of working with ULOs.

In the past year, SCIE's Partners' Council has contributed to high-profile debates on equality and diversity, the future of social work and new technology in social care. Partners' Council members have also played important roles in a range of SCIE's work including Social Care TV films, project advisory groups, conferences and media work.

If participation is to be at the heart of social care, it needs to be embedded from the beginning – this means starting with social work education. In partnership with Shaping Our Lives and the University of Sussex, SCIE has produced new evidence about user and carer involvement in social work education and the Social Work Education Participation (SWEP) website website which is a place to share ideas and good practice.