The participation of adult service users, including older people, in developing social care
In this section:
- The importance of review.
- An evaluation checklist.
- Ways of reviewing progress in organisations.
Be honest and clear about what you are consulting on and don’t make promises when you know you can’t deliver on them. (Manager)
Review plays an important part in monitoring the progress that has been made in involving service users in developing social care, in recognising the achievements that have been made, and in identifying what improvements still need to be done. Without it, it is impossible to assess the quality of any participatory strategy.
Review broadly consists of the mechanisms for collecting information about a programme to make a judgement about its quality, value or importance (Davidson, 2004). Now that there is much greater recognition of the case for the involvement of service users on ethical and democratic grounds and as a way of improving service quality (Beresford, 2002b), it should be an increasingly important stage of any strategy for participation. However, given the greater emphasis upon looking at the process of service user involvement, rather than outcomes, it remains a neglected area (Carr, 2004). Perhaps this is because organisations do not set aside specific resources for the process or it is because an organisation’s participation strategy has not included a formal commitment to review. This section outlines some of the approaches that can be taken to establishing what progress has been made. There is a separate SCIE resource on developing measures for effective user and carer participation.