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


In this section:



It’s about good manners. Service users can feel ignored and it can be stressful in meetings. It’s important to greet people at the beginning of a meeting and say goodbye at the end of it. (Service user)

Evidence from many service users is that, despite the best intentions of social care organisations, their experience of participation can be patchy and tokenistic (Turner et al., 2003), or actually negative (Barnes et al., 2006). Sometimes this stems from the model of participation that has been used. For example, consultative arrangements can draw in a wide range of views but may not be effective if the results of the consultation are ignored or used to legitimate an agency’s own pre-set agenda. By contrast, small and experienced user groups and direct action can be an effective way of getting things done but may also leave out the wider group of service users (Carter & Beresford, 2000).

However, many bad experiences have their origins in poor practice.

They just stare at me, look at you nasty, so I just say, 'What you looking at? Haven’t you seen a person with learning difficulties coming to a meeting?’ [They] think you haven’t got no feelings. (Service user)