1. Introduction

Adults who use social care services, and those of their partner agencies, are at the centre of the personalisation agenda and the Care Act 2014. Feedback from adults and carers who use services about their service experience and outcomes that were or were not achieved, are also areas of increasing focus.

Adult service users should be involved at each level of development, delivery, and review of care and support services in order to:

  • ensure that services are developed to meet the care and support needs of adults;
  • ensure that the services which are provided are of good quality;
  • ensure positive outcomes for those who use the service.

Service commissioners should ensure that adult service users can:

  • have their views considered in the development of new strategies and services;
  • contribute to the review and performance management of existing strategies and services;
  • receive information on planning and delivering of new services in an accessible and jargon-free format;
  • contribute to meetings and decision making where practicable. This may include practical support (for example, reimbursement of expenses; considering the time and venue for meetings) and other assistance (for example help to deal with jargon, stress, power imbalances);
  • access appropriate training and mentoring support to enable them to contribute to planning arenas.

Social workers and service providers should ensure service users:

  • have easy access to a charter on their rights and responsibilities within the service;
  • have easy access to clear information on all the services available (see Information and Advice);
  • have access to information on their care and support options (see Care and Support Planning);
  • are fully involved in the assessment process and development and review of their individual care plan and have their needs, wishes and goals incorporated into their plan (see Assessment);
  • receive information on how to make comments, complaints and compliments about the service they receive (see Complaints);
  • Contribute to the evaluation of the service.

User led organisations (ULOs) are one approach to facilitating user involvement as referenced in the Care and Support Statutory Guidance 2014. ULOs are organisations that are run by and controlled by people who use care and support services, including disabled people of any impairment, older people, and families and carers. See also A commissioner’s guide to developing and sustaining local user-led organisations.

2. Manchester’s Approach

Manchester City Council’s approach to citizen engagement has been to develop Partnership Boards. There are two Boards covering physical disability (PD) and learning disability (LD). The PD Board has been operational since 2005, and the LD Board since 2002. The Boards’ vision is for Manchester to be a barrier free and inclusive city, supporting independent living and personalised services for people with disabilities and sensory impairments.

This has prompted a review of how the Boards operate within the context of the strategic direction of the Council in line with the One Manchester approach, but also a focus on the following areas:

  • to improve the quality of lives of disabled people living in Manchester;
  • to develop an approach based around co-production which involves disabled people and carers in decisions about how services are developed at the earliest possible stage;
  • to be a driver for the development of the Directorate and partners to provide personalised social care services, which support and enable independent living for disabled people in Manchester;
  • to support integration with health, joint working with other council departments, external agencies, third sector organisations and other providers of services;
  • to ensure that services meet the aims and objectives of all relevant government policy, in particular the Care Act 2014,  public sector reform in Manchester, the NHS and Social Care Bill and the Equalities Act 2010. In addition to the above Manchester has signed up to Think Local Act Personal.

The Directorate has reviewed this approach, which has coincided with the development of the All Age Disability Strategy, and a new governance structure is being developed which will drive the work of the strategy forward. This structure will comprise of a new Partnership Board and an Engagement Group. The Engagement Group will be  facilitated by a number of local disabled peoples organisations. This group will replace the existing PD Partnership, but will be tasked with ensuring the voice of Disabled Mancunions is heard and that they have an equal place round the table.