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Involving people who use social work services

Service user with social worker. Photo: John Birdsall

Engagement with people who have experience of using social work services has been part of GSCC strategy since its creation in 2001. In 2005 we published Seen and Heard which emphasised the right of people who use services and carers to "influence, advise, direct and validate the GSCC's policies and services".

Currently our Policy and Research Team is drawing on the views of people with experience of using social work services to bring their perspective into GSCC processes. We work together with other regulators and social work employers to help make initiatives as clear as possible, particularly about the payment of people for their involvement. In 2009, there was an evaluation of the GSCC's involvement strategy which produced recommendations for development, including the creation of a new post of Involvement Advisor. This has given new drive to involvement activities. New initiatives will enable staff to hear the views of people who receive services. At the moment we are consulting with National Voice, the organisation for care experienced young people, with Raise, consultants with experience of mental health services, and with Age Concern about the re-development of our website. By ensuring there is more information for people who use social work services, we hope a wider range of people who use services will tell us their views about social work and its regulation.

As a regulator, we must deliver public protection, particularly to those people who are most vulnerable. Recently, the staff group who register social workers met to explore the theme 'why are we here?' Two young women who had been looked after in local authority care and a foster carer shared their experiences with the staff members, illustrating the links between people with experience of social work services and people undertaking the regulation function and how this contributes to public protection. We are committed to involving many more people in our day- to-day work in this way.

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"New initiatives will enable staff to hear the views of people who receive services" Does this mean that practice will be improved?

13 Mar 2010

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