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

Practice - People from Black and minority ethnic groups

Many participation exercises have failed to engage effectively with people from Black and minority ethnic groups (Butt, 2005).

Reasons for this include:

These help to create situations whereby many people from Black and minority ethnic groups feel reluctant to participate at any level, whether individual or more strategic (Begum, 2006).

Research undertaken with Black professionals and service users has suggested the following ways of removing these barriers:

It can also help to use local organisations that already have credibility within their communities.

See Practice Examples for Adaab and People in Action (Leeds).

Strategies for improving participation among service users from Black and minority ethnic groups also need to recognise the diversity within them. While progress has been made in engaging with some communities, others remain under represented. For example, many service users are unwilling to criticise a service in case it is withdrawn, such fears may be even more common among groups such as asylum seekers and refugees (Begum, 2005).

There is also evidence that participation strategies have been less effective in reaching more newly arrived communities or very dispersed communities, such as those living in rural areas (Butt, 2005).

Earlier parts of this section have suggested how care should be taken in the choice of venues for participation activities and that account should be taken of religious and cultural preferences and the timing of holidays or periods of religious observance.

A further consideration is that interpreters may be necessary for some service users whose first language is not English. However, the quality of interpreting services varies and there are risks of over-reliance upon family members or interpreters who have not been trained to report accurately what has been said to them (Gerrish, 2001).

Research carried out with people using interpreting services showed that: