The participation of adult service users, including older people, in developing social care

Culture - Developing a culture of participation

Managers can't just decide on a policy and implement it like any other. It is a hearts and minds thing and needs a culture change, so there needs to be a lead from the top, lots of training for staff and lots of independent support and training for the service users. (Manager)

Although different types of organisation have different cultures of participation and what may work for one organisation may not be right for another (Kirby et al., 2003a), there is still considerable agreement about some of the changes that any organisation will need to make to improve the culture of participation. These extend through the organisation and include formal and informal systems.

Leadership from the top

Champions within the organisation

See Practice Example for The Cedar Foundation.

Support and training for staff

I think all organisations, certainly those that work in the care sector should have on going disability equality training, not awareness training, and delivered by suitably experienced and qualified disabled people. (Service user)

Using formal and informal arrangements

In addition to formal systems for consultation and involvement, organisations need to find informal ways of helping service users to participate. This reflects the reality that different people wish to participate in different ways and ensures that those who do not wish to participate in formal systems are able to make their views heard.

See Practice Examples for Guildford Action.