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

Practice - What not to do

The older people who are members of Exeter Senior Voice have prepared a 'Brief Guide to Total Failure or How to Make Sure that Marginalized People Stay Marginalized' aimed at all organisations that are reluctant to work towards meaningful participation.Unfortunately, there is only space here to include one or two examples for each point but, although the tone is light-hearted, the extracts give a sense of some of the practices that prevent participation from becoming meaningful. Their use of the pronoun 'they’ to refer to service users is deliberate.

Brief guide to total failure or how to make sure that marginalized people stay marginalized

Make sure they realise that this consultation is purely lip service.

Keep them guessing.

Make it clear who is in control here - they must appreciate they are only here on sufferance.

Make people pay for the privilege of being consulted.

Keep it simple - you only have to be able to say you tried.

Remember the 'easy to reach’ are easier to reach.

Keep it bureaucratic (see Kafka for more tips).

Bear in mind that these people are marginalized for a reason - they can’t speak for themselves.