A new guide from Clinks and Revolving Doors Agency
A new (March 2016) guide to service user involvement and co-production in the criminal justice sector seeks to practice what it preaches.
The guide is an updated edition of a previous document and seems to reflect a change from a time when many agencies “did” service user involvement because it was an expectation and there was a tick-box feel to the exercise to the current day when an increasing number of agencies seem to be genuinely committed to the idea that service users should be the key group determining how a service operates.
A practical approach
The guide is aimed at managers, staff, trustees and volunteers of any organisation that wants to involve their service users in the management, design, delivery and evaluation of their services. It is also intended to support service users in their involvement in an SUI project.
The guide is a practical document and provides a structured and accessible introduction to involving offenders and exoffenders; it
includes examples of good practice, checklists and signposts to further information and support.
To be frank, I would be doing the guide — and the concept of service user involvement itself — a disservice by trying to summarise the contents in a short blog post like this.
If you are serious about service user involvement, I strongly recommend that you read the guide which is set out in a logical fashion.
The guide starts by defining service user involvement and sets out a rationale for the approach as well as a number of ideas for involvement.
It goes on to guide readers through developing a service user involvement strategy and highlighting common problems —- and, importantly — solutions.
The guides goes on with detailed advice on project planning and delivery and, sensibly, has a whole section focused on the recruitment, reward and support of service users who get involved.
The practical nature of the guide is emphasised by the inclusion of samples of best practice for:
- SUI meetings
- Induction checklists
- Payment and reimbursement policies
- Project plans
- Planning matrices
- Service user involvement policies
- Terms of reference
I would be delighted if any readers would like to share their experiences of service user involvement — from any perspective — via the comments section below.