Information for Staff.

Information for all staff about working with service user and carers

If you arranging for service users or carers to be involved in working with your programme and undertaking activities in the university, there are a number of arrangements that you need to ensure are in place for their support. Essential information on the issues to consider when arranging service user and carer involvement are available on the Algorithm of Involvement

Induction and support:

  • All service users should be able to briefed for the particular activity they are coming to take part in. It is good practice to have job descriptions for different roles they might play in the faculty.
  • For service users and carers who work with the faculty on a regular basis, they should be able to link to a mentor who can give and advice and guidance. In some programmes this support system has been developed into a ‘buddying‘ system 
  • They have the right to ask for feedback on their work in the faculty and this should be arranged at the same time as their plan work

Payment and access to faculty resources:

  • Service users and carers should be able to claim for their expenses and if they wish for the time they give to the activities. Guidelines for payment for time and expenses are available, an Algorithm of Payment and FAQ's.
  • For service users and carers who work with us on a regular basis, it may be possible to negotiate regular contracts with the university
  • ‘honorary' contracts which gives people an identity card and access to resources such as the library can also be arranged for service users and carers involved for a significant period via Fiona Earlam, SUCI Office.
  • It must be made clear that if a person is in receipt of benefits, any payments received may have an impact on their benefit status, this is the service user or carers responsibility to investigate. 

Access

  • The faculty is committed to attending to the access needs of all people involved in its activities including service users and carers
  • The faculty has a disability access strategy
  • There are arrangements in place to provide personal assistance where necessary
  • ‘Photosymbols’ is a computer package available for photo resources in making documents more accessible. Service users and carers should be encouraged to let us know when our written documentation are not clear and understandable
  • Fiona Earlam, the Administrator, is able to work with service users and carers to ensure that their individual access needs are met.

Training

  • Some service users and carers may be interested in taking some of the faculty training courses themselves, they should discuss this with their mentor or academic contact.

Definition of service users and carers:

This terminology is contested. It is used by organisations along with other terms such as patients, customers, clients and residents to identify the people who use their services. Most people who are given this label do not find it a particularly significant identity, just one of many other identities they hold.

Informal Carers may hold different perspectives to the people they care for and many carers wish to have their views to be taken into account by professionals and organisations providing paid care. Carers do not always identify themselves as carers but rather in relation to the people they care for such as parent, spouse, child.

There are various ways in which people get more involved in influencing the services they receive – if they have a significant use of services, if they have issues that they think can be improved, if they join organisations which encourage them to have a voice or if they respond to an organisations request to give feedback. If they become more involved, people may be happy to be known as service users and carers but they may also wish to be known by different names such as ‘patient partners’, ‘experts by experience’, 'public', or ‘survivors’. The key to using terminology is to ensure that the people you work with are happy with the terms being used. 

Further information on disability is available from UWE HR department