Involving service users and carers in social work education
Preparing for participation: key messages
The material collated during this project suggests some key points to consider at the very start of the preparations for participation. These are covered in detail later and highlighted here: . Everyone involved benefits from working out and signing up to the values and principles of involvement as early as possible in the process of forging partnerships.
- Everyone involved benefits from working out and signing up to the values and principles of involvement as early as possible in the process of forging partnerships.
- If there is a comprehensive strategy for overall involvement right from the start, then it will be easier to include those new roles for service users and carers where progress may be slower and more complicated.
- Effective service user and carer participation involves a lot of people working in new ways. Service users, carers, lecturers, other academic staff, administrators, students, employers, providers of practice learning and assessors could see this as a development exercise that they engage in together.
- Everyone involved needs resources in terms of people, time, money, and proper support to make this work. This applies equally to service user and carer organisations as to others. A budget to pay for participants’ time, expenses and for other related costs can help to make this a reality.
- Actively promoting and sustaining participation is a process and not a one-off event. It takes time to build up respectful and purposive relationships and to give attention to the practicalities.
- A lot of enthusiasm and goodwill is required to make this work and has already been invested. There are many other pressures and demands on everyone involved. At the start, only a small number of service users and carers per programme may be available and willing to take this initiative forward. Widening participation is a key task.