I’ve been getting stuck into some hardcore consultancy work over the last few months. From supporting a start-up refugee charity in Hackney to involve service users in the development of education-related services, to being party to initial discussions with two visionary sixth formers from Sheffield who want their peers to have more of a say in language teaching, it’s been a busy month.
I was quite reflective before I wrote this post, because I wondered what its purpose was. I can’t exactly provide any updates on the projects’ progress, because both are in their fledgling stages, and nor did I want to simply blow my own horn. After all, I’m only a facilitator – anything that happens won’t really be on my watch. But I know some readers are keen to stay abreast of how involvement in services really works, and how the people who drive it forwards can grow. After all, I firmly believe that the process of effecting services development – as much if not more than the end goal – can empower, inspire and galvanise those who matter most: the recipients of that service.
So while I can’t offer anything in the way of updates at the minute, I really want to reiterate my passion for service user involvement, and the effect it can have not only on services, but on people’s lives. Most industries these days are effecting something in the way of a collaborative approach to service-user involvement, be it Holland and Barrett asking for consumer ratings on each of their products, to mental health care organisations involving people in the care they receive.
For more information, have a look at this article I wrote with an ex colleague about effective and meaningful involvement in mental health care.