To rival the GSCC, SCIE, CSIP, ADCS BADASS and UKIP (how did they get in?), Backchat is launching its own “robust appropriate inquiry” into user-practitioner relationships. Using the model published by Exeter Senior Voice in its “Brief Guide to Making Sure that Marginalised People Stay Marginalised” we have devised this test. One point for every statement about service users that you or your team agrees with.
A) To make service users realise you are paying lip service to consultations, do you
● Ask for their views after the decisions have already been made?
● Send a deputy or better still your apologies to the next meeting?
B) To keep users guessing about the “outcomes”, are you.
● Vague about what might happen as a result of the consultation?
● Keen to use abbreviations and jargon as often as possible?
C) To make sure they know they are only here on sufferance, do you.
● Refuse to divulge how you will be using any information you receive?
● Choose a venue with only two lavatories – on another floor?
● Choose a building with very limited disability access?
D) Do you ensure people pay for the privilege of being consulted by
● Failing to reimburse expenses?
● Ensuring they claim through the usual system, which takes weeks?
● Making any claims clash with benefit rules on income?
E) Keep it simple – you only have to be able to say you tried, so you
● Limit your consultation to one public meeting in the evening?
● Talk vaguely about a follow-up but say “we will keep you informed”?
● Lose the contact sheet?F) Remember the “easy to reach” are easier to reach, so do you
● Exclude people who cannot complete your questionnaire?
● Only invite the “usual suspects” as they’ll agree with you?
G) To keep it bureaucratic, do you
● Make sure that every letter comes from a different person?
● Never give a contact number?
H) Remember users are marginalised because they can’t speak for themselves, so
● Never ask them what they want – they’ll make unrealistic demands?
● Refuse to offer on cost grounds audio, visual or large print formats?
● Talk only to the carer?