Involving service users and carers in social work education

This next and often overlapping stage involves a lot of preparation and negotiation work within the internal university structures and systems, at the same time as keeping up the momentum with service user and carer partners. It is a lengthy process that includes briefing everyone about the degree requirements, proposal writing, committee work at all levels, and course validation. Securing the support of the most senior university staff and the School Directorate, and getting all academic colleagues, course administrators and finance officers on board are integral and essential parts of the process.

Plans and decisions have to be made about the arrangements for service user and carer involvement in the overall planning and management of the degree. They also have to cover the roles of service users and carers in: student selection; the design of the degree; teaching and learning provision; preparation for practice learning; provision of placements; learning agreements; the assessment of students; and quality assurance.

At this stage too, the often complicated and complex issues faced in the preparatory stages have to be re-visited. Issues such as confidentiality and accountability assume increasing importance and have to be negotiated with all parties.