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

Meaning and importance of participation - Successful participation

Despite the benefits listed above, it is important to recognise that when participation is handled poorly, the chances of achieving positive changes will be reduced.

I hate being the only service user present. It is horrendous. [Tokenism makes me] feel I’m being used. (Service user)

Although originally written in the context of work with people from Black and minority ethnic groups on the need to move beyond traditional forms of research, and make progress in bringing about change in practice, these messages could equally be written about trying to achieve successful service user participation.

Success means ensuring that people:

There is still a shortage of published materials recording the outcomes of service user participation (Carr, 2004).Reasons why this has not happened include:

However, there are now signs that this is beginning to change:

See Practice Examples for Leonard Cheshire and Rochdale Metropolitan Borough.

Funding may be linked to a requirement for participation, or specific funding is allocated for service user participation through contractual arrangements with service user organisations.