Client Involvement is a mind-set that says vulnerable people’s voice is absolutely essential – at three different levels: to support people towards greater independence; to make services as effective as possible and to make the best strategic decisions.
Groundswell see client involvement in three layers: the self, the service, the society
Self: Involvement in Your Own Support
The simplest way to think about whether client involvement is important when it comes to providing support to people is to try and negate it. How can I support this person to be independent by preventing them from being actively involved in their own care? We can’t put it any better than this…
“To give people help, while denying them a significant part in the action contributes nothing to the development of the individual. In the deepest sense, it is not giving but taking- taking their dignity. Denial of the opportunity for participation is the denial of human dignity and democracy. It will not work.” Saul D. Alinsky, 1971
Service: Involvement in Support Services
Whether you are planning, delivering or evaluating services you need to understand a client’s perspective on what works. With ‘Payment by Results’ and ‘Personalisation’ on their way, it is clear that services who do not know what their clients actually think about how a service meets their needs may well struggle to be around for too long…
Society: Involvement in Your Community
The client perspective on what works and what does not is also key to strategic decisions at local and national level. The more complex and bureaucratic that a decision making process is – the greater the challenge is to meaningfully involve people. But it’s worth it! Bringing clients into decision making – not only helps you end up with better decisions, but improves the process for all involved – not just clients!
Put simply – involving clients produces better services and more effective policy; not only that but the act of being involved can be transformative on an individual’s own journey out of homelessness.