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

Practice - Types of participation

Different people want to participate in different ways and there is widespread agreement that successful service user participation is based upon having varied and flexible approaches that allow this to happen (Collins, 2004; Truman & Raine, 2002; Waldman, 2005).

Consultation meetings

Ways in which organisations have tried to improve the quality of consultation meetings include:

See Practice Examples for Southern Health and Social Services Board.

Do not assume a venue is accessible because the website says it is. Ask to see the access audit. Always visit the site with a suitably qualified person to check the access.

Make sure the venue is easy to find, accessible and on an accessible bus route and near an accessible station.

Make sure car parking can be reserved for service users who are not necessarily blue badge holders.

Give plenty of clear and accurate directions to venue.

Ensure that there are enough accessible toilets. Many service users need to use an accessible toilet not just wheelchair users. (Service user)


Campaigning organisations


See Practice Example for Adaab.

See Resources on Action 4 Advocacy and People First.

Service user led groups or networks

See Resources on Service User Researchers.

Individual involvement on a daily basis

It is easy to forget that, for many people, the most meaningful participation is being able to take more control over their everyday lives.

It needs to be recognised that the bulk of service users’ participation is on a personal level based on individual situations and requirements. This is understandable and should not be considered negatively. Most people in the UK do not take an active role in developing services and strategic planning. (Begum, 2006, p19)