Changing social care: an inclusive approach
People who use services driving culture change - Develop local relationships
- Consider what steps can be taken to develop positive relationships between providers and the people who use services.
- Understand and acknowledge the value of user-controlled organisations, which should increasingly develop in each locality.
- Agree lines of communication and ways to encourage discussion, consultation and accountability.
- Build on the experience of people who use services, who are practical experts, and use their involvement to help change attitudes.
Example: People who use services have helped organisations to develop user involvement by:
- helping to obtain funding for more staff
- taking on new roles such as advocacy in mental health units
- forming user participation groups
- carrying out research on participation
- acting as spokespeople for the organisation
- training other users in involvement.
Example: Willowbank Community Resource Centre is a user-led organisation, and their case study provides a powerful example of what can be achieved. (Willowbank)
How we know this
- Direct payments are more widespread in areas where there are user-led organisations and particularly so where local authorities support development (Hasler and Stewart 2004; Priestly et al. 2006).
- Where contracting authorities and user-led organisations work together, services are more effective (Robson et al. 2003; d'Aboville, 2006).
- The Joseph Rowntree Foundation also states that research shows ‘services cannot enable people to achieve their aims and aspirations without the full involvement of service users’ (Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2005).
- The Association of Directors of Social Services and the National Centre for Independent Living (NCIL) have issued a joint protocol recommending local authorities to support the development of user-led organisations, including Centres for Independent Living, noting that 7 out of 10 of the top performing local authorities on direct payments contract with user-led organisations (Association of Directors of Social Services and National Centre for Independent Living 2006).
- Birchall and Simmons (2004) note that while many service provider respondents told them that they had involved service users because they were directed to do so by national government, they also reported benefits to their organisations and service provision as a result.