This new approach, the first of its kind, is set out in a Service User Involvement Strategy which was created by staff in Care UK’s learning disability services working alongside the people they care for. The strategy is designed to achieve a service that allows all of the people that the company supports to voice their opinions and shape the service that they want.
Care UK supports more that 400 people with learning disabilities at sites across the country – from Scotland to Portsmouth.
The process to develop the strategy began with groups of people with learning disabilities coming together to act as ‘champions’ representing their fellow service users. These groups talked about what they wanted from their support package and how they could spread the word about the new approach among their fellow service users and support staff.
In the coming months and years the Service User Involvement Strategy will come to life by promoting service users’ participation in the recruitment and selection of their support staff as well as involvement in induction training for new staff and an increasing overall awareness of their rights. Each service user will be able to give feedback to ensure they have a plan tailored to their individual needs.
Richard Jackson, Managing Director of Specialist Care Services, said: “The views of the people we support can provide us with a valuable insight into how we can provide the best quality services to meet their needs.”
Even the cover of the new strategy has genuine involvement from a service user. The artwork, entitled ‘A new day dawns’ was produced by Alan Rothwell, a service user from Essex, who lives in one of Care UK’s supported living homes. Alan is a keen artist and through his art he created a picture that interprets what he believes service user involvement means to the people we support.
Alan commented: “I am very honoured to have my art work on the cover of the brochure.”
Care UK has also produced an ‘easy read’ version of the strategy for services users setting out what will change and this has been distributed to every person who receives learning disability support from Care UK. This is the first Care UK document created under the ‘information for all’ standards that will be adopted in future for all materials produced for people we care for with learning disabilities.