Involving clients in delivering services can have a “dramatic effect” on improving their lives, says a study published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation today.
The role of professionals in achieving user involvement must shift from being “fixers who focus on problems to becoming catalysts who focus on abilities,” according to the research.
“Front-line staff are central to delivery and empowerment. Staff need more interpersonal, facilitative skills rather than just having a rigid, delivery focus,” it asserts.
The study analyses what it calls “co-production” where clients work unpaid alongside professionals as partners in service delivery. Under co-production, people such as service users previously treated as “collective burdens on an overstretched system” are considered “untapped potential assets”.
User involvement is often informal and needs to retain this approach to stay successful, says the study.