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

Structure - Institutional and political barriers

Institutional and political barriers

Many organisations have an understanding of participation that positions service users as external consultants rather than partners in the development process (Carr, 2004). Since the majority of service users involvement takes place at the consultation level, where policymakers, officials and professionals generally outnumber service users considerably, this explains why some systems for participation may actually reinforce, rather than alter, existing power relations (Hodge, 2005).

Three of the most commonly used ways of preventing these problems include:

See Practice Examples for Hafal, The Cedar Foundation and Leonard Cheshire.

Not sticking to times is also an access issue. They say the meeting is going to end at 3.30 so you organise all sorts of things to enable you to travel at that time, a taxi is waiting, assistance with rail travel is booked and you have to give them 24 hours notice and if you turn up half an hour late, you miss your train, but then the booked assistance isn’t there to meet you on arrival, or your prearranged transport. But if you leave the meeting early because it is running late not only do you miss some of the meeting but you are made to feel that you are being the awkward disabled person by insisting that you leave 'early’. (Service user)