Participation - finding out what difference it makes
Practice site 8: Mersey Care Trust
1. Characteristics of service users involved
All users were mental health service users and carers. The evaluation asked why service users wanted to become involved in services. The most common reasons were to ‘change and improve services’, ‘to give something back’ and ‘to have something meaningful to do’.
2. How service user participation is ensured
Activities and methods that ensured participation described by service users included:
- recruitment and selection of staff
- open space events
- provision of information
- involvement in a user forum
- positive achievement awards.
3. What policies on service user participation have been formulated?
The Trust has a strategy which states the importance of user involvement/ participation. In the survey of staff members 58 out of 73 said they were personally responsible in involving services users.
4. How are the effects of participation monitored, audited, and evaluated? Who carries out the evaluation?
The evaluation of participation was undertaken in the form of a survey of 201 people who had participated in services and who were held on a user participation database.
5. A particular example of participation making a difference
Both service users and staff were asked in the survey how participation made a difference.
Service users: 44 out of 93 said it made a lot of difference to their lives, 34 out of 93 said it made some difference, and 8 out of 93 said it made no difference.
Practitioners: 32 out of 73 a lot of difference, 34 out of 73 some difference, and 6 out of 73 said it made no difference.