The participation of adult service users, including older people, in developing social care
Structure - Action points
- Plan in advance, use accessible venues and make sure that service users have time to prepare for the meeting.
It’s a good experience when the venue is accessible; that the information you are given is in the accessible format. (Service user)
- Avoid exclusionary practices in meetings.
Timing is never seen as an access issue. They say, 'Come at 9 o’ clock.’ They just don’t think what that means for service users. Everything about the rush hour makes it really difficult for us. (Service user)
- Draw up a clear set of 'ground rules’ that operate across all levels of participation which aim to create the right atmosphere for working together respectfully.
Excluding users deliberately [by using jargon is] a form of bullying. We show them a red (a warning) and yellow card (to stop them) at our meetings if they do that in their presentations. (Service user)
- Write documents in plain English and make them available in different formats and languages. Provide support for service users who need help reading complex or long documents.
[Papers] should be short and concise with no jargon and no acronyms. (Service user)
- Agree agendas and notes of meetings in advance and give service users an opportunity to include items that they would like to discuss.
Build in an earlier deadline so that papers can be available in any format needed and so they go out prior to the meeting. [Meetings are all] about money and we don’t get to discuss issues we want to talk about. (Service user)
- Develop a clear policy for the reimbursement of service users which covers the costs of participation, transport, and support costs. Providing cash payments on the day. Where payments are made by cheque, or by transfers to a bank account, make it clear how long it generally takes for the organisation to process them.
I have just been paid for attending a meeting nearly a year ago. (Service user)