BEST PRACTICE GUIDE FOR EFFECTIVE USER INVOLVEMENT.

Scottish Drugs Forum’s approach to User Involvement has been recognised as a model of good practice, being featured in a joint publication with Correlation, the European network for Social Inclusion and Health.

Developing a model of user involvement and social research in Scotland sets out the background to Scottish Drugs Forum’s development of the model and gives detailed information on how to deliver the model.

 

More locally, Scottish Drugs Forum User Involvement projects have twice won awards from the South Lanarkshire volunteer centre SoLVE in recognition of good practice in the voluntary sector.

 

Tip Sheet No. 1 – Prepare for an External Audit of Service User Involvement

Tip Sheet No. 2 – Involve Service Users in Service User Involvement

Tip Sheet No. 3 – Involve Service Users in Staff Recruitment

Tip Sheet No. 4 – Conduct Service User Consultations

Tip Sheet No.5 – Develop/Review Service User Surveys and Questionnaires

Tip Sheet No.6 – Develop/Review Service User Peer Support

Tip sheet No. 7 – Conduct Service User Focus Groups

Tip sheet No. 8 – Develop/Review Service User Involvement Policy Statement

Tip sheet No. 9 – Evidence Service User Involvement in Care Planning

Tip Sheet No. 10 – Establish Service User Involvement in Alcohol Related Brain Damage and Other Forms of Limited Cognitive Functioning

Tip Sheet No.11-  Involve Service Users in a Service Newsletter

 

Tip sheet No. 1 – Preparing for an External Audit of Service User Involvement

 1.0   Increasingly, organisations with responsibility for auditing and      monitoring health and care services are looking for evidence that service users of such services are appropriately involved in their own treatment and care.  These organisations can include the Care Commission, NHS Boards, Social Work Inspectorate and other commissioners and funders of services at a local level.  In most cases, there is a requirement to evidence methods and structures of involvement and participation.

1.1 The following paper gives some tips and advice on how services can start to shape their service user involvement practice to ensure that they can be prepared to report on and evidence service user involvement as and when required.

2.0  Be Informed

2.1   Information is available from most auditing bodies on their requirements.  Make sure you are familiar with any standards, outcomes or targets that you are expected to meet.  For example, information on The National Quality Standards for Substance Misuse Services or the new Care Commission Grading System can be downloaded from the internet.

2.2   Most auditing bodies cannot advise on or prescribe good practice to services as they would then effectively be assessing their own practice.  However, the National Quality Standards for Substance Misuse Services was accompanied by a Good Practice Guide on Service User Involvement to help services meet the Standards.  Copies of the guidance can be downloaded from the internet.  You could also familiarise yourself with organisations which may be able to provide support and advice on service user involvement such as Scottish Drugs Forum.

3.0  Tips and Advice

 3.1   In most cases, it is good practice for services to be able to provide    evidence that they have considered service user involvement and evidence that service users are being involved.

–       Have a service user involvement strategy and/or action plan for the service which is written down and can be provided to any interested parties

–       Ensure that there is clear evidence of service user involvement on an individual basis by evidencing service user involvement in care planning.  This can simply be done by ensuring that each service user signs a copy of their care plan and where possible, receives a copy of their care plan.

–       Show that a range of methods of involvement have been considered, and if necessary put in place to ensure that service users have options as to how they are involved

–       Involve service users in the development of a range of methods and  evidence the process for doing this e.g. minutes of meetings with service users

–       Demonstrate methods which allow service users to comment on the quality of care e.g. use suggestion boxes, encourage comments on the quality of care in service user satisfaction surveys, bring in independent facilitators to consult with service users on the quality of care

–       Show that changes in service provision have resulted from service user involvement by providing regular feedback to service users on how their comments are being responded to by the service

–       Demonstrate that service user involvement is not a one-off activity

–       Services may want to consider providing service users with information on standards of care that they should expect e.g. provide information on the National Quality Standards for Substance Misuse Services or on the Care Commission Grading System.  Some of the information available is very service focused – services may want to consider translating the information into a more accessible format for their service users.

–       Service user involvement in the recruitment and training of staff is becoming increasingly important.  Services may want to start this process at a basic level to begin with by inviting service users to comment on the Person Specification for particular posts, or by giving service users an opportunity to submit questions that they think should be asked of prospective candidates.  Again, the process for involving service users should be evidenced in minutes or notes of meetings with service users.

–       Services looking to access independent facilitation at low cost could perhaps seek to make reciprocal arrangements with another service provider from a different organisation.  Scottish Drugs Forum could also provide this service on request.

–       Try to think creatively with regards to involving your service users, and keep it fresh – what might have worked for one group of service users may not work with another.  Service user involvement methods should be reviewed and if necessary revised on a regular basis.

 

3.2   Whatever forms of service user involvement the service employs, make sure that all aspects of that activity are clearly recorded, perhaps in a service user involvement file.  Examples might include, records of attendance at relevant training or meetings (staff and service users), minutes of meetings, copies of training and staff service user development activity undertaken, copies of contribution to newsletters, recording of suggestions and service response from suggestion boxes, SU consultations or focus groups, SUI in recruitment or peer support/mentoring activity.

Tip sheet No. 2 – Involving Service Users in Service User Involvement

 

1.0 Preparing the way

1.1  The following is a suggested practical checklist for both services and

service users (SUI) to consider when thinking of establishing/joining

an SUI group:

 

Practical questions for the service to consider:

□   Do we have a budget for expenses/subsistence?

□   Do we have access to appropriate accommodation?

□   Can we provide childcare?

□   Do we have the staff capacity to support a SU group?

□   Do we know as a service how we want this group to link in with service development?

□   How frequently can we support this group to meet?

□   How will we deal with service users who are under the influence?

□   Eligibility criteria for the group?

□   How will service promote the group?

□   How will service encourage SU to attend the group?

□   How will service respond/support training or literacy needs?

Practical questions for service users to consider

□   Will I receive adequate expenses?

□   Will I receive a subsistence allowance?

□   Is childcare an issue for me when attending the proposed group?

□   How much time can I commit to this group?

□   Will involvement with this group impact on my treatment/support?

□   How long can I be part of the group for?

□   What is this group for?

□   How will this group benefit me?

□   Is the group open or closed membership?

□   Will other service users be under the influence?

□   Who is eligible to join?

□   Will my keyworker know what I am saying in the group

□   Will my support needs be met by the service?

□   Will my training needs be met by the service?

□   How will I be encouraged to be part of the group?

□   Who do I inform if I can’t make the group?

It is vital that both the service and service users have a shared understanding of the practical implications of an SUI group before the actual group is established.

It would be good practice to bring service representatives and service users together to address these practical questions so that there is clarity on what is expected.

2.0  Communication

2.1  Once the way has been prepared, then the focus needs to turn to communication in the group. Both service and staff need to be clear on:

–       Establishing the time and frequency of the meeting

–       Establishing an open and transparent mechanism for setting the agenda to allow for both staff and service users to put items on the agenda

–       Establishing chairing and minute taking responsibilities

–       How are the meetings recorded, who will have access to the records and by what means?

–       How will staff and service users as well as the wider organisation be informed of the meeting

–       Who will be responsible for “action” points that came up at SU meetings – identifying who’s responsible for taking actions forward, how to chase up on actions etc

3.0  Outcomes

 

3.1  Once the structure of the group and communication channels has been established and the group has started to meet it is vital to reflect on how will we know that the group is working? Some indicators of success may be:

–       Increased confidence of service users attending the group

–       Regular SU attendance

–       Increased confidence in staff team that SUI is internalised into the service

–       Direct changes to service provision as a result of the SUI group

–       Feedback on why change can not be implemented

–       Benefits to staff and service users who are not directly involved in the group

4.0  Service User Involvement Policy

 

4.1  Once staff and service users have met and discussed the above, in

addition to any further concerns not listed, the agreed action can be

written up to form a local service policy, which should be seen as a

working document and reviewed on a regular basis (perhaps

annually) to ensure that the group is developed and improved on

over time.

5.0 Evidencing the SU Group

 

5.1Whatever form the service user involvement group takes, make sure that all aspects of its activity are clearly recorded, perhaps in a service user involvement file.  Examples might include, records of attendance at relevant training or meetings (staff and service users), minutes of meetings, copies of training and staff service user development activity undertaken, copies of contribution to newsletters, recording of suggestions and service response, including changes made to the service as a result of service user views.

Tip sheet No. 3 – Involving Service Users in Staff Recruitment

 

 

1.0  This paper gives tips and examples of how service users can be involved in staff recruitment.

 

2.0  Planning to involve service users in the recruitment process

 

2.1  Practical questions for service to consider:

–       What impact will involving service users in the recruitment of staff have? 

–       Do you need to let your funders or commissioners know?

–       Is the organisation/service prepared for service users to have a say in defining the roles of the staff?

–       What is a realistic timescale for this process?  Involving service users in the recruitment process may take longer, especially if it’s the first time for the service or the service users.

 

3.0  Next

 

–       Invite service users to get involved, only involve those who are interested and feel it’s relevant to them.

–       A dedicated person should be appointed to support service users throughout the process.

–       Be clear from the start about the range and extent of the role service users will play – communicate this clearly to the service users, other staff and anyone else involved in the recruitment process.

–       Reassure service users that it is not their sole responsibility to decide who gets the job; the decision will be made by a combination of people. Staff and service users are working as a team throughout the process.

–       Training should be provided for service users involved in the process, particularly on boundaries, confidentiality, short-listing and interviewing.

–       It would be helpful to give service users written information on the recruitment process, their role within the process and the support available to them which they can take away, or go over with a support worker, peer mentor or trusted person.  This will help them make informed decisions about whether they want to be involved or not.

–       Make the process interesting; remember the service user will be volunteering their time.

 

 

Once you have decided that you want to proceed with involving service users in staff recruitment and have taken the planning into consideration, there are a variety of methods that you could consider for involving service users in staff recruitment. 

 

Scottish Drugs Forum would recommend that you give consideration to involving service users in these first few examples before moving on to involving service users in the interview panel.

 

4.0  Job Description and Person Specification                                

 

4.1  How can service users be involved?

 

–       Working with service users to develop and write a job description is a great way to engage service users early in the process.  You could use group discussion to identify and explore the different roles and responsibilities that are undertaken by the staff in your service and ask for feedback or comments on the various job descriptions.

–       When considering the person specification, you could ask service users to think of and describe a time when a staff member’s attitude or experience in the job has made a real difference to them.  This could be done in a group setting or on a one to one basis.

–       You can help service users to think about the knowledge, skills, abilities and experience that a person needs to undertake the job by getting them to talk about what they see as beneficial in an addiction worker.  For example would they need to be chatty, a good listener, good at filling in forms? Then ask service users to turn their attention to the job which is being advertised, and ask them to decide on the qualities that they believe are essential and desirable to fulfil the role.

–       It is important to explore with service users why they feel certain qualities and skills are important.  At this stage you may sometimes find that service users say they want to work with someone who has ‘been there and done it’.  This can be important but it is useful to explore why they feel like this.  For example, is it empathy they are looking for, trust, being non-judgmental etc?

–       At this point it could be useful to have a discussion about discrimination, particularly with regards to whether a job applicant should have to disclose whether they themselves have experienced problems with alcohol and/or drugs.

 

5.0  Advertising the vacancy and application forms

 

5.1  How can service users be involved?

 

If you are going to involve service users in the recruitment process, it is important to ensure that applicants are aware that this will form part of the selection process.  This information could be included in the job advert and/or the job application information and as far as possible, should inform applicants on how service users are involved.

5.2  There are a few options available for involving service users in the application process:

–       Involve service users in reviewing your existing application form or creating a new one.  This can be particularly useful for ensuring that you are avoiding jargon or language that might not be understood by service users involved in the short-listing process.

–       You could ask applicants to complete an additional short form, with questions posed by service users.

–       You could ask service users to be involved in writing information about the project for applicants to go into the job application pack.

6.0  Short-listing

 

6.1  How can service users be involved?

 

If you are planning to involve service users in the short-listing process, it is important that training and support is provided to ensure they are comfortable with the task.  Some things to consider when planning training and support for this activity:

–       Consider the paperwork used for short listing – ensure that it is in plain English and that it is easy to understand.  Time could be spent with service users working through the form to ensure they are clear on what they are looking for and how to record their views.

–       To help service users get the hang of short-listing they could review applications with a worker to begin with, see how it is done, then start again and rescore candidates themselves.

–       Reading the application forms could be done together or separately.

–       It can be of benefit but not compulsory if the service users that have been involved in designing the job description and person specification are also involved in the short listing because they will understand the job.

7.0  The interview stage

 

There are a number of different ways to involve service users in the interview stage.

7.1  The walk around/meet and greet    

                                     

–       Many services have a version of a meet and greet or walk around.  This can be used rather than service users being involved in an interview panel.  Service users volunteer to meet candidates on arrival to provide them with a tour of the service and/or to have an informal chat with them.

–       It is important to be clear about what influence this activity has in the selection process to both service users and candidates:

Service users could be asked for feedback on each candidate.

The interaction between candidates and service users could be observed by a member of the interview panel.

–       If candidates are going to be marked at this stage make sure that you let them know that.

–       If it is going to be marked how is this going to be done?

–       It is important to let the candidates know before they come in for the interview that they will be getting assessed at this stage too.

 

 

7.2  Submitting questions for the panel to ask

 

–       Service users could be asked to suggest questions that they would like to be asked by the interview panel, along with suggestions on what answers they would be looking for.

–       Service users could be given sight of the questions that the panel plan to ask and have the opportunity to make comments or suggestions on the types of answer they would look for.

–       Service users could be invited in to the interview at a specific point to ask questions of the candidate.  The panel could observe the exchange.

7.3  Involvement in the interview panel and scoring

 

You could consider holding a pre-interview briefing so that staff and service users (the recruitment team) can have a final chance to review the questions, re-affirm who is asking what, and make sure everyone is comfortable.  It would be helpful to ensure that the briefing takes place far enough in advance of the interviews to allow the service users to become familiar and comfortable with the questions they are to ask, and with the process in general.

–       It may be the case that service users will get cold feet at this stage.  It should be a positive experience for them so it is important to support them with what ever decision they make.

–       It may be useful to make have contingency plan in place to ensure the interviews can run smoothly if there is a last minute drop-out by any member of the panel

–       Use a venue for the interviews which service users are comfortable in. If you use a new venue visit it with the service users first so that they are familiar with the venue and comfortable

–       It is helpful if interviews are scheduled at times which are suitable (evenings and weekends for example) for service users to be involved.

–       It may be helpful preparation for the service users to encourage them to participate in mock interviews prior to meeting the candidates to build their confidence and get them used to the interview format.

 

7.4  A debrief session should take place after the interviews are

       complete

 

Have an immediate chat with service users how they felt about the process.  This will help to ensure that the service user does not go home worrying or unsure about the outcome of the experience.  If you do not have time to do a full debrief immediately after the interviews, you could still have a quick conversation but set a date and time to have a full debrief session as soon after the interviews as possible.

7.5 Evidencing Whatever form the service user involvement in recruitment takes, make sure that all aspects of its activity are clearly recorded, perhaps in a service user involvement file. It is advisable were feasible to keep two copies one for display and one to be kept in the office. It may also be important to keep copies of anything that is appropriate and connected to personal development to be kept in individual service user files.  Examples might include, records of attendance at relevant training or meetings (staff and service users), minutes of meetings, copies of training and staff service user development activity undertaken, copies of contribution to job sepc, advertisement, short listing, interview questions, meet and greet –checklist if used, debriefing issues- raised (particularly important for any future involvement), and if its felt that this impacted on the selection process.

 

Tip sheet No. 4 – Conducting Service User Consultations

 

1.0  Consultation with service users can take place using a wide variety of

formats:

–       Focus Group

–       Interview

–       Questionnaire/Survey

–       Graffiti Wall/Shout Board

–       Suggestion Box

–       Participatory Appraisal

–       Open Space

–       World Cafe

1.1 Regardless of the format of consultation used, there are some key areas

of planning and consideration that must take place to ensure that the

experience is positive for both the consultant and the participants.

2.0  Areas for Consideration

 

 2.1  Venue

Ensure that the venue for your consultation is accessible for all

participants of the exercise.  You should consider whether the venue is

easy to find, whether it is easy to direct people to it and the physical

attributes of the building i.e. stairs, accessible entrances etc.

The comfort of participants within the venue is important.

Consideration should be given to whether the venue is welcoming, and

if it is fit for purpose for the activity you plan to carry out.

2.2  Transport

Participants in a consultation tend to be giving their time on a voluntary

basis.  It is therefore important to ensure that they are not out of

pocket for any expenses incurred in relation to the activity.  If you

require participants to make their own way to your venue, you should

ensure that you are in a position to reimburse any travel expenses they

incur.

Additionally, you should consider ease of access of the venue with

regards to public transport – local bus routes, nearest transport stations

etc.  Participants should be provided with as much information and

support as possible on getting to and from the venue.


2.3  Catering

Water, tea and coffee should be provided as a minimum.

2.4  Language

It is important to pitch the information you are providing appropriately

for your participants.  Consider the language used, the use of jargon

and abbreviations and try where possible to provide information in plain

English.

2.5  Explanation

Ensure that your participants know what they are involved in:

–       Why is the consultation being conducted?

–       What is it about?

–       Who is conducting the consultation?

–       Where is the information gathered going?

–       What are the timescales involved?

It is good practice to provide both written information on the exercise as well as explaining the above as part of the consultation process.

In most cases it is necessary to gain consent from the participants to go ahead with the consultation and to use the information that they provide in any written reports.  A briefing can be provided to the participants that they are asked to sign if they consent to being involved and to show that they understand what they are being involved in.

2.6  Feedback

It is essential that all participants are provided with feedback on their input including what information was gathered, what happened to the information and what response there has been.

You should be clear with participants at the start of the consultation how and when they should expect to receive feedback.

2.7  Thank You

It is important to ensure that you acknowledge the input that your participants have given.

You may want to consider offering participants a token of thanks for their participation such as a gift voucher for a nominal amount.  Sometimes this can act as an incentive to encourage people to participate.

2.8  Evidencing the SU Group

Whatever forms of service user involvement the service employs,      make sure that all aspects of that activity are clearly recorded, perhaps in a service user involvement file.  Examples might include records of attendance at relevant training or meetings (staff and service users), minutes of meetings, copies of training and staff service user development activity undertaken, copies of contribution to newsletters, recording of suggestions and service response from suggestion boxes, SU consultations or focus groups, SUI in recruitment or peer support/mentoring activity.

Tips Sheet No.5 – Service User Surveys and Questionnaires

 

  1. 1.    This “tip sheet” was developed in response to demand from alcohol and drugs services in Greater Glasgow and Clyde for some assistance in developing or reviewing service user surveys or questionnaires.
  2. The information here is arranged in two sections; general considerations for services/agencies and specific pointers.
  1. General Considerations
  • Services should consider carefully a number of questions, most centrally who and what is to be surveyed and why do you want to carry out the survey/questionnaire?
  • Where does the intended survey or system of surveys, sit within the service’s other service user involvement methods and quality assurance arrangements?
  • Do service users want to be surveyed?  What are their preferred methods of involvement with the service?
  • What information is it essential to get at?  The temptation is always to seek wider information that would be “interesting”!
  •  Can you seek out examples from relevant like services?  This will help inform your thinking and choices – things that appeal to you and things you would not choose to use.
  • What time and capacity has the intended audience to respond? How accessible is the questionnaire?  What is known about attention span of the individual, reading abilities, the setting in which it will be completed?
  • Who else may be asking the individual the same questions?  Avoid duplication and survey fatigue for the service user!
  • What capacity has the service/agency to carry out, analyse and report on the survey findings?
  • Who else needs to know the results apart from service users and staff?
  • What aspects of service can you change in response to demand or service user response?  If the answer is “No” don’t ask!


 

  1. Specific Pointers

These are some suggestions for consideration when compiling a questionnaire to seek the views and opinions of service users.

When considering the structure of the questionnaire and type(s) of questions:

  • State the purpose of the questionnaire and how to complete and return it.  This might be best done on a front sheet to the form.
  • Always include a clear “thank you” to service users for taking the time to complete the survey.
  • State how the information gathered will be used to improve the service and who will get to see it.
  • Assure respondents of anonymity and confidentiality should they wish, whilst allowing service users to give their name if they want (they might want a personalised response to what they have to say).
  • Consider the “look” of the document – if cluttered it may be off putting – try to make it clear, bright and appealing – people generally like some illustrations – don’t be afraid to use humour!
  • Ensure questions, illustrations and language is appropriate to the target audience.
  • Consider having questions on one side only as “back page” questions may be missed.
  • Put “easy” questions at the start to encourage completion.
  • Keep wording clear and simple, avoiding jargon or acronyms.
  • Group similar questions together – don’t “mix and match”.
  • The order of the questions should be logical and predictable.
  • Ensure language is clear – check for possible or unintended ambiguities
  • Keep questions brief and avoid multiple or “roll up” questions.
  • Avoid leading or biasing by either wording or tone.
  • Allow for “don’t know” responses
  • Put “open” questions towards the end of the questionnaire.
  • Allow sufficient space for responses to “open” questions.
  • Make it clear how closed questions are to be completed (tick / circle) – if using a scale for responses consider a 4 or 6 point scale to encourage a more definite choice – uneven numbers tend to invoke a mid- point bias.
  • Pre- test questionnaire with appropriate pilot group and act on feedback – do service users consider the questions appropriate and relevant?  Can they identify useful gaps in the questionnaire?
  • Decide in advance a period after which to review the survey or questionnaire for relevance and usefulness. Always seek to involve service users in any review.
  • Decide how the information is going to be fed back.  If you can feedback to individuals make sure there is a space for preferred contact details.
  1. Evidencing service user involvement

 

A perceived strength of using surveys and / or questionnaires may be the high level of anonymity they provide. In such cases the use of an evaluation document may prove useful. This way, participants can comment on how they found the use of the questionnaire or how it might be improved. Alternatively, if service user involvement activity is recorded in a specific file then the names of those who have participated can be captured in this way. This assumes of course, that such methods have been employed with agreed service user buy in.

If the survey or questionnaire has been designed to include the name of participants, then a copy of the completed document could be included in the case file.

Tip Sheet No.6 – Service User Peer Support

  1. This tip sheet was developed in response to demand from alcohol and drugs services in Greater Glasgow and Clyde for some assistance in developing or reviewing systems of peer support.  It draws on a number of sources including the experience of the SUIP staff team over the past couple of years, good practice examples from the literature, and local services who have generously shared examples of their own practice.
  2. The information here is arranged in three sections; Volunteer Peer Meeting and Greeting, Informal Support or “Buddying” And Volunteer Peer Mentoring.
  3. Volunteer Peer Meeting and Greeting

3.1 Who Might Do This?

  • A volunteer current service user who knows and attends the service regularly

3.2        What is the Volunteer’s Role in Meeting and Greeting?

  • Meet and welcome potential or new service users either at the first service visit or initial assessment.
  • Show them around the service.
  • Explain basic health and safety procedures e.g. fire procedure, signing in sheets, etc.
  • Explain basic housekeeping of the service e.g. toilets, kitchen, facilities for the service user’s use
  • Explain smoking policy, etc.

3.3        Considerations for the Service

  • Write up a short role description for Volunteer Peer Meeting and Greeting
  • Write up criteria for Volunteer Peer Meet and Greet role e.g. length of time in service required, is there a level of stability required?
  • Write up a checklist for volunteer meet & greeter to use, to make sure they have covered everything required and get both parties (volunteer meet & greeter and new service user) to sign at the end of the welcome session.
  • Write up a basic agreement between service and volunteer meet & greeter covering ground rules of the role.
  • Ensure that an assessment or visit time does not disrupt the volunteer meet & greeter’s own programme.

3.4 Evidencing Peer Meet and Greet

  • Photocopy the checklist and give a copy to the new service user and one for a service file specific to Service User Involvement
  • At key work sessions, key worker can ask volunteer involved in  Peer Meet and Greet how many welcome sessions they have done, how they feel, etc. This should be recorded in the service users file/care plan.

4. Informal Support or “Buddying”

4.1 Who Might Do This?

  • A current service user who knows and uses the service regularly, possibly been attending the service for a few weeks or more

4.2        What is the role for the Informal Supporter or “Buddy”?

  • Role could incorporate meet and greet with further responsibilities, or be a separate role altogether.
  • To introduce the new service user to the other service users and staff.
  • Agree an arrangement whereby the “buddy” makes regular contact with the new service user e.g. twice a day during the first week, once daily for the next two weeks and then twice a week or until the new service user feels comfortable.
  • To answer any initial questions the service user may have regarding programme/service/ procedures
  • To act as a link between new service user and staff
  • To find out how new service user is settling in and share knowledge and offer re-assurance/encouragement.
  • To record relevant information between the “buddy” and service users, staff members can support with this if the “buddy” requires literacy support.

4.3        Considerations for the Service

  • Write up a role description. Include commitment required and any training requirements together with how these will be met.
  • Write up specific criteria for the “Buddy” e.g. been attending the service for two months, what level of stability is required from service user.
  • Deliver basic training on relevant organisational policies and procedures, e.g. confidentiality, boundaries and health and safety.
  • Offer extra support from staff. This could be through a support and supervision session to the service user, to ensure that they are confident in their new role and not experiencing any difficulties and to offer extra training if required.
  • Write up an agreement on the ground rules of “buddying” and both “buddy” and staff member sign it. This is to ensure the “buddy” is clear about their role.

4.4        Evidencing the “Buddying” System

  • Have a separate file/folder for SUI Peer Support undertaken  within the service
  • Keeping a log of meetings between service user and volunteer “buddy”, in the SUI Peer Support File recording the meetings and any outcomes.
  • Evidence of any training undertaken in both the volunteer “Buddy’s file and SUI File.
  • Record in the SUI Peer Support File how this process is going by meeting with volunteer “buddy” and S/U, e.g. What is going well and if there are any challenges and further actions to be taken.
  • Copy the agreement between service and volunteer “buddy” and   keep one in the SUI Peer Support file and one for the volunteer “buddy’s file.

5. Volunteer Peer Mentoring

5.1 Who Might Do This?

  • Service User who is in the final stages of the programme, aftercare or who has left and would like to do some volunteering within the service.

5.2        What is The Role of the Volunteer Peer Mentor?

  • Could incorporate both meet and greet and “buddying” with further responsibilities or could be a separate role altogether.
  • This role would be a more formal one than the other two.
  • To assist the development of other service users through offering support, advice and encouragement so the service user can draw on the experience of the volunteer peer mentor.
  • The volunteer peer mentor would have to show and maintain a level of stability, be committed and reliable and to be clear in their role and responsibilities.

5.3        Considerations for the Service

  • Write up a role specification. Include commitment required and any training requirements together with how these will be met.
  • Write up criteria for the Peer Mentor e.g. length of time in programme, level of stability required.
  • Informal/formal interview process for potential peer mentors
  • Develop training or access suitable training on organisational policies and procedures, these may include: Health & Safety, Personal Safety, Boundaries, Confidentiality, Risk Assessment, Drug and Alcohol Policy
  • Is a Disclosure Scotland check required?
  • Clear direction on the difference between staff roles and peer mentor roles.
  • How will support and supervision and extra support be offered to the volunteer peer mentor?


5.4        Evidencing the Volunteer Peer Mentoring System

  • A policy or guideline paper written up on peer mentoring
  • List of all accredited volunteer peer mentors
  • All records of mentoring sessions recorded in SUI file
  • Support and Supervision notes recorded and a copy given to volunteer peer mentor and a copy for service records.
  • Record of all training completed e.g. copy of certificates, training dates.
  • Copy of any references written on behalf of the volunteer mentor from the service.

Tip sheet No. 7 Conducting Service User Focus Groups

 

1.0    A focus group is a useful method of obtaining a service user perspective on a specific issue such as introducing, changing or terminating a work practice for example.

2.0  Areas for Consideration

 

 2.1  Venue

Ensure that the venue for your consultation is accessible and comfortable for all participants of the group. Consider if the venue is local as some participants may have children to drop off and pick up from school or have medication to collect.

2.2  Transport

Participants tend to be giving their time on a voluntary basis  therefore ensure that they are not out of pocket for any expenses incurred in attending. Participants should be provided with as much information and support as possible on getting to and from the venue.

2.3  Catering

 

Water, tea and coffee should be provided as a minimum.

2.4  Participation

 

Aim to attract as wide a representative group as you can. Use posters to advertise and ensure front line staff have the time and opportunity to promote the focus group and its topic. Ensure that on the day, participants know what they are involved in. This includes why is the focus group being conducted, who is seeking the information, where the information gathered is going and how the outcomes will be fed back to participants.

2.5  Topic

Be clear about the aim of the focus group and use methods which lend themselves to discussion and encourage the widest participation. Ensure that the work is structured.

For example it might not be as productive simply to ask “should we introduce group work” but have this as the title.

The task could be broken down into “what are the positive aspects” “What are the negative aspects” “what would be your solutions” and “what other points would you like to make”

Ask experienced group workers from within the organisation to facilitate and scribe, or for increased objectivity, try to resource facilitators from a partner agency for example.

2.6  Language

 

It is important that the information you are providing is appropriate

for the participants.  Consider the language used, the use of jargon or

abbreviations and provide written information in plain English.

2.7 Feedback

 

It is essential that all participants are provided with feedback on their input including what information was gathered, what happened to the information and what response there has been. As stated, you should be clear with participants at the start of the focus group how and when they should expect to receive feedback.

     

2.7  Thank You

 

It is important to ensure that you acknowledge the input that your participants have given.

You may want to consider offering participants a token of thanks for their participation such as a gift voucher for a nominal amount.  Sometimes this can act as an incentive to encourage people to participate.

2.8        Evidencing Service User Involvement

 

Examples of evidencing how service users have participated may depend on the overall recording structures of the agency. An example might be to include the names of participants in a file dedicated to Service user involvement. Another method might be to construct an evaluation document to record service users’ experiences of participation for inclusion in individual care plans.

Tip sheet No. 8 – Developing/reviewing Service User Involvement Policy Statements

 

  1. Many alcohol and drug providing services do a great deal to try to involve their service users in critical discussion about their service experience.  Relatively few have explicit policies or statements on service user involvement and how and why they seek out the views of those who use the services.
  1. There are a number of advantages in developing such a statement including:
  • Clarifying the thinking and understanding for the service, staff and service users alike, on why and how service user involvement is to be achieved and maintained
  • Serving as a means of measuring progress against what a statement says will or should happen, compared with actual practice
  • It can provide a focus for discussion with service users, checking out what they see as important in service user involvement, and their actual experience of it within the service
  • It provides evidence that a service has thought through service user involvement and views it as important.
  1. The following are suggested as general principles for the development and review of service user policy statements;
  • Service user statements need not be unduly long or complex documents.  Consideration should be given to making things as concise and clear as possible.  Where appropriate, services may wish to consider an abbreviated version, issued to all service users at first point of contact with the service.  Where necessary services will wish to take account of any literacy issues, learning difficulty or impaired cognitive functioning.
  • Services should try to involve service users themselves in the development and review of service user policy statements.  In this way the statement will reflect those issues, and often methods of involvement, which are favoured by service users.
  • Policy statements should be dated and include a projected review date, to consider appropriate amendments and developments
  • Any review of the policy statement should be informed by the views of current service users.
  1. Services might usefully consider a number of key elements in developing a service statement or policy on service user involvement.  This might include the following:
  • A clear statement on why service user involvement is important to the service.  We would suggest that a key focus of this would be that service user experiences will be used to continuously improve the quality of service on offer.  Most service users can see and appreciate the value of that, encouraging them to give of their time.
  • A statement might indicate that service users have a right to full involvement in decisions which affect their life, including care and support plans.
  • Also, that service users have a very particular knowledge and experience of services (and access barriers), which staff and managers do not.  A statement should emphasise that that knowledge and expertise is valuable, valued and key to service effectiveness.
  • The service might indicate a range of ways in which they will seek to establish the views of those who use the service.  This might include for example, how the service user’s views will be recorded and evidenced in care planning and review documentation, in-service or exit service user surveys or questionnaires, suggestion box, any service user or residents’ group, focus groups, manager’s surgery, periodic consultations etc.
  • A statement should say clearly how each of the above methods, and the views of service users, will be recorded, considered, acted and reported upon, including back to service users.  Wherever possible, services may wish to offer practical examples of how it has established and acted upon the service user experience to improve things.
  • Services might consider giving an indication of how its service user involvement relates to and informs its overall quality assurance arrangements.

Tip sheet No. 9 – Evidencing Service User Involvement in Care Planning

  1.  Promoting Joint Ownership:

 

Effective care planning and review requires a close understanding between worker and service user of one another’s viewpoint.  This can be used to promote a real sense of joint ownership of plans, progress made and any perceived barriers encountered.  The care plan must realistic and understandable to the service user, and detail those issues which are of most concern to him or her, together with an agreed approach to tackling these.  Ensuring that the process and recording of care planning and review evidences service user views on these issues and progress made or otherwise, is an effective means of promoting shared goals and maximizing progress.

  1. The Care Plan Itself:

Care plans should therefore represent the outcome of a process of assessment, negotiation and agreement.  As a minimum care plans should be written in a clear, concise and jargon free way, taking due account of any literacy issues on the part of the service user.  The care plan should be;

  • SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bounded).
  • dated and signed by both the service user and his/her keyworker.
  • be given in copy form to the service user in an agreed format or medium.
  1. Care Planning Reviews:

Care planning reviews offer an important opportunity to review progress against agreed plans and goals.  They also give effect to a process of mutual accountability between service user and keyworker i.e. taking individual responsibility for the fulfillment of those specific agreed actions to be undertaken to realise the care plan.  A further key function of the review is to re-set goals and care plans in the light of experience to date and any changed circumstances.  It follows therefore, that as with the initial care plan a revised plan from the review should be;

  • SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bounded).
  • dated and signed by both the service user and his/her keyworker.
  • given in copy form to the service user in an agreed format or medium.

Tip Sheet No. 10 – Service User Involvement in Alcohol Related Brain Damage and Other Forms of Limited Cognitive Functioning

1. This “tips sheet” was developed in response to demand from addiction services in Greater Glasgow and Clyde for some assistance

in developing or reviewing systems for involving people with alcohol related brain damage. This may also prove useful when working with people who have limited cognitive functioning as a result of problematic alcohol or drug use. It draws on a number of sources including the experience of the SUIP staff team and good practice examples from local alcohol related brain damage services who have generously shared examples of their own practice.

2. Common issues when trying to involve people with these characteristics include:

  • Lack of understanding of policies and procedures
  • Memory issues
  • Low motivation
  • Low confidence
  • Communication issues (service users may feel frustrated communicating their needs)
  • The processes may be especially time consuming for staff and service users
  • No one size fits all- each method like the individual requires a person centred approach

3. Important factors to bear in mind include:

  • Recognising service users may not feel comfortable in a group setting.
  • Keeping service users motivated and informed at each stage of their involvement
  • Service user is treated as an individual at all times
  • It is important to evidence even the smallest change
  • It can be helpful to minimise choices not to overwhelm
  • Small goals need to be set and recorded at each stage to avoid disempowering service users
  • Recognising drop out may happen as service users may lose interest

4. What else can help?

  • Acknowledge that service user involvement groups may not work and can be particularly unpopular with this care group.  So other methods need to be developed to compensate.
  • Methods will take longer to put in place- plan for service users with these characteristics.
  • Set small goals.
  • Hold pre meetings were each point is recorded so that it can jog memories
  • Alarms and or speaking watches can be used as prompts to remind service users of when things are coming up.
  • Notes of what’s coming up that day can be made and taken and then disposed of after each thing is complete
  • Asking individuals periodically what methods of involvement they like or activities they wish to be involved in. Write in file what works for that services users
  • Have a box or file with information in which they might be interested in.  They can then choose when they look in it.  Don’t put too much in at one time or you may overwhelm.
  • Photograph books, put photographs of activities or methods up with its name below it
  • Activity plans- personal journals owned by service user

5. What some alcohol related brain damage services have incorporated into their service user involvement practice.

Buddying peer support:

 

  • Not seen as intensive/not a hassle, confidence building
  • Takes staff ‘out of the equation’- service user have ownership
  • More holistic- ‘ introduction’ from service users perspective
  • Get to see things through the eyes of a service user

Developing a booklet to keep all policies and a calendar

  • Many services already use a calendar or diary with service users. A good way to make sure that important policies/information on the service are communicated when needed is to include them in a diary

Care plans

 

  • Its vital to focus on small achievements as well as the bigger more recognisable ones.
  • Service users can write up their own care plans with the support of staff when needed.

Feedback methods

  • Involvement methods need to be creative but equally feedback needs to be creative too.  For example, set up sections of notice boards just for feedback, and ensure service user involvement is a standing item on team meetings.

6. Evidence

As earlier described, evidencing involvement can be difficult to do for staff if it’s only the ‘big things’ that are being asked for.  Try and make sure that all aspects of the involvement are recorded. Perhaps you could create a service user involvement file? Examples might include records of attendance at relevant training or meetings (staff and service users), minutes of meetings, copies of training and staff service user development activity undertaken, copies of contribution to newsletters, recording of suggestions.  However it would also be good if you displayed information where possible and include what they have been involved in the individual’s care plans and/or own file.

Tip sheet No.11- Involving Service Users in a Service Newsletter

  1. Services often see a newsletter as having two broad purposes; firstly to ensure that service users, staff and partner agencies are kept up to date on the service and how it is developing, and secondly as a means of engaging service users and allowing them to express their own views about their experience of the service.  This “tips sheet” offers general advice and suggestions for those services or groups who are seeking to engage service users in developing or producing a Newsletter.
  2.  Points to Consider for a Newsletter:

Before establishing a Newsletter a number of things need to be thought through, to maximise the chances of success.  These may include consideration of;

  • Specific Responsibilities:
  • Who will take the lead? Is it a joint venture? How are Service users to be consulted on content/frequency etc?
  • Will a staff member be involved in co-ordinating the newsletter
  • Who will contribute to it e.g. Service users or service users, staff and management
  • Targeting/production:
  • Who is the target audience? (Within the service, other services, possible referral sources)
  • How often will newsletter be published (quarterly, twice yearly etc)
  • How much time will be needed to develop it (dedicated hours weekly?)
  • How many pages will it have?
  • Content of newsletter
  • Deadlines for submitted articles
  • Layout and publishing – format, tone, language – Pictures/symbols
  • Is there a budget or possible funding source for publishing?
  1.  Ideas for content of a newsletter:
  • Personal stories and achievements/ Motivational Quotes
  • Service achievements/ Photos
  • Interviews- with staff/managers, former or current service users, others of interest
  • Puzzles, Crosswords/Word search/ Competitions
  • Poems or creative writing
  • Artwork/Cartoons (ClipArt)
  • Film/book/TV programmes /Music reviews /Articles on enjoyable activities/outings
  • Problem Page
  • Useful Numbers/ What’s On in the Community
  • Researched topics of interest
  • Recipes
  • Service responses to suggestions/comments
  • Changes that have been made to the service because of service user consultation
  • Jokes!

 

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