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

Practice examples 3: Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Characteristics of service users involved

Local government agency for adults living in Bradford.

How service user participation within the organisation is ensured

The most longstanding development is the Older People’s Focus Group (OPFG) which started about 10 years ago. It has grown to a group of about 150 people who meet with the Manager of Service Coordination and Communications on a monthly basis. The group acts as a:

There is also an alliance of all the older people’s organisations called Bradford Older People’s Alliance (BOPA), which stands independently from the council and is run by older people. They represent service users on the Older People’s Strategic Partnership Board, which has been running since 2005.

The involvement of people with disability has been mainly achieved through an annual event attended by around 200 disabled people who meet to hear what the council has done over the previous year and say what should be done over the coming year.

Service users are involved on other standing committees and take part in consumer surveys.

 What policies on service user participation has the organisation formulated?

There is a written policy on participation called We’re Listening and there are policies and procedures about reimbursement.

How are service users supported?

Travel expenses are paid and arrangements are made to reimburse people on the day. If people are attending specific committee meetings over a period, expenses and a small fee for each meeting are paid. Service users have been sponsored to go on courses such as assertiveness training and meetings skills. Regular support groups are held if necessary.

How are the effects of participation monitored, audited, and evaluated?

A calendar of events recording all the consultation meetings that the voluntary sector, health, and social services run is kept centrally. The aim is to make sure that events do not clash and avoid duplication.

What makes organisations succeed in participation?

Success in participation is about valuing people and enjoying what is being done. It is about getting recognition that people are valued for what they are, not only for what they do and letting them know that they have got some influence over what happens.

Contact details

Nick Farrar (Manager of Service Coordination and Communications) Bradford Social Services, Olicana House, Chapel Street Bradford, BD1 5RE 01274 437996