Involving service users and carers in social work education
Taking the lead and/or the day-to-day responsibility
All staff should be involved with service users and carers in the delivery of the degree.
However, setting up the arrangements in the first instance requires a lot of time, skill, determination and effort, as does sustaining them. While heads of departments take overall responsibility, the approaches include:
- Assigning the task to an existing member of staff with dedicated time and support from others. This approach is widespread.
- Sharing the task out among several members of staff. This approach is also common. For example, different members of staff may lead on involving service users and carers in student selection, designing course modules and developing practice learning opportunities with service user and carer organisations.
- Recruiting a new member of staff or a consultant on a short-term contract to develop participation. Several universities have adopted this approach (eg Bristol, Brunel, Coventry, Middlesex, Anglia Polytechnic University and City College Norwich). Some of these posts are parttime or time-limited. The job titles include service user and carer coordinator, facilitator or development worker, and partnership manager. A person with experience as a service user or carer could be recruited for this post but this has not been standard practice.
- Getting together with other universities and colleges in a region to secure funding and jointly appoint a local coordinator or liaison worker (eg Brighton and Sussex, Liverpool and John Moores, and North East Region Programme Providers).