Looking out from the middle: influencing policy change through user involvement

Joe Duffy and Brendan McKeever

in Critical Perspectives on User Involvement

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9781847427519
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305590 | DOI:
Looking out from the middle: influencing policy change through user involvement

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Looking Out from The Middle marked a collective commitment by three major health and social care organisations in Northern Ireland to continued consolidation of user involvement within and across all aspects of their working practices. This chapter demonstrates how the views of health and social care service users and carers helped inform the recommendations of this report commissioned by the Social Care Institute of Excellence. The research was completed by a team of user researchers and academics. At first, those consulted as part of this work were wary and sceptical about engaging with the research. They suspected that, as in the past, nothing meaningful would come from this. But the publication of an Action Plan showed that the views of service users and carers consulted were taken seriously, and, more importantly, acted upon. The chapter addresses the following themes: service users; carers and academics as co-researchers; the challenges and opportunities; how to overcome service user/carer scepticism in research through sensitive preparations; and consulting with marginalised/seldom-heard groups. It concludes with two case study scenarios that have been used in training to illustrate examples of both productive and unproductive consultations with service users.

Keywords: social care; national influence; partnership; co-research; bad practice; good practice

Chapter.  5364 words. 

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