A commissioner’s guide to developing and sustaining local user-led organisations

Understanding ULOs

This section will give you all the background information you need to understand ULOs. This will help you to work with ULOs in the most appropriate and effective ways.

Key messages

  • ULOs have a long history, with user group activism really taking off in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • There is no fixed definition of a ULO, but they all have common characteristics through their values, power and knowledge.
  • ULOs are involved in a wide range of activities but in general help people to exercise choice and control over how their support needs are met.
  • ULOs are organised in various ways: there is no one specific model.
  • ULOs need to engage with a diverse population and be inclusive.
  • although users and carers should work together, organisations made up mainly of carers are best described as carer-led organisations.