SCIE Report 14: Doing it for themselves: participation and black and minority ethnic service users

By Nasa Begum

Published: July 2006

Service user participation in social care has increased markedly in the wider service user movement over the last 20 years. However, the participation of black and minority ethnic service users has diminished over the same period. This report identifies some of the reasons for this reduction and concludes by stating that given the right opportunities, support and resources, there is a genuine commitment and interest from service users to become more actively involved in the process.

Key messages

Recommendations

To promote participation among black and minority ethnic service users, we must:

Context

The government's white paper Improving our health, our care, our say: A new direction for community services starts from the premise that people who use or require social care support are a fundamental resource in their own care and in determining the formulation of future policy and service developments. Service users are regarded as active partners in providing a direction and contribution to the design and delivery of social care resources.

Since the early 1990s service user participation has been central to the reform of public services. It is now relatively unheard of to have policies or service delivery in social care without some reference to involving service users. However, while service user participation in social care has increased markedly in the wider service user movement over the last 20 years, the participation of black and minority ethnic service users has diminished over the same period.

Purpose

This report looks at some of the reasons for the exclusion of black and minority ethnic service users in participation programmes.

Audience

This discussion paper will be of interest to social care organisations, policy makers and service user groups.