Learning organisations: The informed service user and carer


Needing to seek professional advice about a health or social care problem can be a daunting prospect. It can cause apprehension for a number of reasons. There is an inevitable power imbalance. Service users and carers may feel intimidated by professionals. Having to discuss difficult, embarrassing and otherwise private things with a stranger, not knowing what to expect, how your situation will be assessed or what the outcome might be are all potential sources of concern and anxiety.

These questions are designed to help prepare service users and carers for contact with social care organisations. They optimise the participation of service users in the decision-making process by enabling them to be fully informed about practice, services and resources.

Guidance for use

The following are some of the key questions that service users and carers have found useful and important to ask. Staff in social care organisations should be able to provide you with the answers to these questions. A good organisation would be drawing your attention to your right to be given information and ask questions.

This card is likely to be particularly helpful at the beginning of your contact with a social care organisation. It may also be useful to go back to them at a later stage, when you may be feeling a bit more confident. A good organisation will treat you with respect when asking for or receiving a service.


Information about services

Information about policies



Access to services


Refusing a service

  1. Can I refuse the service you are offering?
  2. If my decision to refuse a service is overridden, what are my rights of appeal?
  3. Is there any help I can get if I want to challenge this decision?


Feedback and Complaints

Useful references