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Empowerment of users of social care services has become a key issue in much current social work and social policy literature. However, many of these texts have defined participation narrowly, and consequently user involvement has been restricted to influencing the decisions of front-line workers, with little participation in policy making at senior management level. This book explores strategies for effectively involving users in the planning, delivery and evaluation of services. How the key concepts of empowerment, participation and user involvement have been applied in important areas such as mental health, child care services and social welfare is discussed, and the outcomes for users considered. The book draws on extensive research and case studies, and also considers the methodology and ethical dilemmas of carrying out research. User Involvement and Participation in Social Care is an authoritative, thought-provoking overview of the current situation in social care delivery and presents a convincing argument for greater direct involvement of users at every level of policy making. It will be an invaluable resource for practitioners and researchers involved in social and health care delivery at all levels.
Hazel Kemshall is currently Professor of Community and Criminal Justice at DeMontfort University. She was previously a senior lecturer at Birmingham University and has practice and management experience with the Probation Service. She has written extensively on risk assessment and risk management, and has recently completed research for the Economic and Social Research Council. Rosemary Littlechild is a lecturer in social work at the University of Birmingham. She is a qualified social worker and has practised in local authority social services departments. Her research and publication interests include community care, care for older people, multi-disciplinary working, and user and carer involvement in community care.