SCIE Report 8: Contributing on equal terms: service user involvement and the benefits system

By Michael Turner and Peter Beresford

Published October 2005


With the advent of service user participation in the development of social care services has come the recognition that service users should be paid for the work they do.

Currently, the rules on paying people who are receiving benefits (and many service users do) make payments difficult and sometimes impossible. Service users who want to make a contribution, live in fear of losing their benefits. Even those who are not paid worry that, by taking part in meetings, they might be seen as being fit to work and will lose their benefits.


This report seeks to uncover the difficulties and fears people experience in being paid for their contribution to services and those of the organisations who pay them. By revealing the issues and seeking to have them addressed, it will help in laying the foundations for proper and principled user involvement.


The report is intended for (and requested by) the Government, but will also be interesting for service users who take part in involvement and service providers who work with service users.

Messages from the report

Key findings



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Related links

SCIE's resources on stakeholder participation