Service User (involvement) Policy

  1. Policy Statement (what this policy is for)
    1. Casadh will ensure service users are involved as much as possible in how the service works.
  • Purpose of this Policy
    • To describe ways that service users can be involved and how service users’ views are included when the service is being improved or changed.
    • To make sure there is a charter of service user rights and responsibilities which has been developed in partnership with service users.
  • Scope (what this policy covers)
    • This policy refers to service users – which is any person who makes use of the service. Sometimes this may also include previous service users.  
  • Principles (the values that drive this policy)
    • Service user involvementis vital to delivering and developing a good service.
    • Service user involvement will be meaningful; it will be done so that the service users’ input will genuinely feed into the organisation, how it runs and how it might develop.
    • Casadh will provide a variety of options for service users to get involved to make sure that involvement is as accessible as possible.
    • All service users will be given opportunities to be involved.
    • Service user involvement is a chance for service users to learn new things: staff will actively support service users to develop new skills through service user involvement.
    • Communication between the service and service users will be clear, honest and understandable. 
    • Services users will receive timely feedback on their suggestions. If suggestions can not be put in place it will be explained clearly why this is.
    • Casadh will regularly review how service users are involved and whether the process is working well.
  • Roles and Responsibilities
    • Manager: to make sure that service user involvement is representative, to review service user involvement strategies and to make training available for staff and service users where needed.
    • Staff: to help service users understand how they can be involved in the service.
    • Service user representatives: to represent their own views / when representing a service user forum the views of other service users, in a way that is fair and correct.
  • Procedures (how we go about involving service users)
    • The following activities will be used by the organisation to involve service users:

Note that QuADS states that ‘there will be procedures for consulting with service users to inform planning and delivery’ and that common ways of achieving this are: consultation groups, satisfaction surveys, and service user reps on the management body.  See the Service User Involvement Options in the QuADS library for other ideas.  This section needs to detail how you engage service users:

  • Consulting with Service Users in Relation to Service Planning
    • Service users will be involved in service planning through:
      • Review of Mission Statement: this is a sentence or two which describes what the organisation wants to achieve.  It is reviewed every three to five years as part of the strategic plan. Services users will input to any mission statement reviews by: (detail) (Involvement of service users in review of mission statement is a QuADS requirement). 
      • Strategic Plan: This is a description of what the service plans to do over the next three to five years.  Service users will input into this process by: (detail)
      • Annual Plan: This is the plan for what the service will do in the year ahead and is always done in reference to the strategic plan and mission statement.  Service users will have a say in the annual plan by: (detail)
  • Communication
    • Service users will be made aware of their rights and responsibilities within the organisation.  To assist with this we will display a Charter of Service User Rights and Responsibilities (QuADS requires that a Charter should be available. There is a template available in the QuADS library).
      • Service users will be made aware of the Charter by being given a copy / shown the charter when they enter the service / through induction to the service.
      • The Charter will be developed by staff and service users.
      • It will be reviewed annually with service users through (type of involvement)
    • Service users will be given information on the types of services provided, the standards they can expect (QuADS requirement) and the ways in which they can be involved in the service.  All information we produce aims to be:
      • Easy to understand.
      • Written in language that suits a variety of service users.
      • Considerate of people’s different reading abilities.
    • Where possible service users will be asked for their comments on the content and design of any leaflets / publicity materials etc. 
    • Service users will receive feedback from any suggestions they provide through (name forum). This is the responsibility of (name role), who will aim to ensure that this happens within (time frame) of the suggestion being received.
      • When feedback cannot be acted upon by the organisation, reasons why will be clearly explained to the service user (i.e. legal or funding constraints) and other options will be discussed where possible.
    • Service users will be made aware of any changes to the service that affects them in a timely manner.  If service users’ opinions influence change, it is important that service users are informed of this. 
    • Service users will also be made aware that due to the law and the values of the organisation, there are some limits to what issues / decisions service users can input on.
  • General Guidelines for Running Service Users Forums / Groups
    • Events will always be publicised at least one week in advance. 
    • Service users will be engaged in preparing agendas.
    • Forums will be facilitated by (name role); service users will be encouraged to co-facilitate.
    • Confidentiality: where relevant, groups will create a contract which states the values of the group around issues such as respect and confidentiality.
    • If the group is meeting regularly a terms of reference will be developed. This is a page describing what the group does, how it does it and the boundaries it works within (a sample terms of reference is available in the Service User Involvement Options in the QuADS library).
    • Recording the meetings: minutes (written records of what is said at the meeting) and clear agendas (a plan for what will be discussed at the meeting) will be used and fed back to service users. All written feedback will be in plain language to be as accessible to as many service users as possible.
    • Feedback in relation to suggestions, questions or requests will be provided after each group in a timely manner. This is the responsibility of (name role).
  1. Representatives
    1. Service users may be nominated to act as service user representatives to represent the views of a group of service users such as a service user forum, or service users may sit on committees with the task of communicating their own views only. It will be made clear which option is part of the role.
    1. It is a goal that representatives, peer groups or interviewee groups are representative of the general profile of service users.  New service users, women and any minority groups will be encouraged to get involved.
    1. Service users will be offered training or support when they are involved in activities such as peer education or service user representation.
      1. Supports will be structured and ongoing, and include (enter details).
      1. There will be regular formal check-ins to check that the service user rep feels supported, and that there are not other supports required. This is the responsibility of (name role).
    1. Where requested, service users will be supported to make contact with local and national service user groups or advocacy services and provided with information. (QuADS requirement: service users have access to written information on self-help and user advocacy groups on request).
  1. Remuneration (payment for service user involvement)
    1. Casadh will not pay service users for service user participation, but will allow Time in Lieu (YIL) for participation outside of normal working hours.
      1. Should a participant be required (with agreement of Management Committee)to attend a conference or service users event outside of the local area, travel expenses will be paid on production of receipt. Should a Breakfast, light lunch or evening meal not be included at the event, Casadh will vouch €20 towards expenses incurred per day, on production of receipts.
  1. Review Process
    1. Casadh is committed to making sure that the quality our service provided is of the highest standard, which includes having useful and accessible service user involvement.  Service user involvement will be reviewed every 2 years / annually / every 6 months.  This review will include a summary of:
      1. Ways that service users are involved, and levels of involvement.
      1. Changes as a result of service user participation.
      1. Whether service users found it useful and accessible and what could be improved in the future.
      1. Goals for service user involvement for the next year.
    1. It is the manager’s responsibility to make sure this review happens. The review will involve service users and will be facilitated by (name role) and will involve a service user audit of participation / questionnaires / phone interviews / other.
    1. The results of the review and any proposed changes will be shared with the service users through service user fora / groups / other.