Service User Participation And Feedback

It is generally accepted that service user feedback on, and input to planning of, service delivery is a vital element in ensuring a quality service. The importance of the desired outcome (first-hand information from service users on whether services are meeting their needs) is sometimes sidelined in enthusiasm to set up structure, often a forum.

While a forum can play an important role in allowing for formal discussion and recording of issues, there are other ways in which to gather information, from suggestion boxes and complaints procedures to focus groups and questionnaires.

All methods have their strengths and weaknesses and each one meets a different need. Introduction of meaningful participation is best introduced incrementally with an honest assessment of where the power to make decisions lies and what exactly each ‘side’ of the service (those delivering and those receiving)  are being asked for and can expect to gain from the process.


  • Half-day service user participation training and workshop for managers. Introduce theory and models of participation, from the basic requirements of good practice to advanced measures such as involvement in planning. Workshop among managers to assess their own attitudes and priorities. Report to task force.
  • Circa 150 confidential satisfaction questionnaires to service users in treatment and rehabilitation services funded by the SICLDTF. Report to the task force.
  • Meet with task force steering group to bring the information needs of the task force together with the results of the questionnaire and the ideas and recommendations from the managers’ group. Agree an action plan to recommend to the task force.


Knowledge of current levels of satisfaction of service users; local staff informed of benefits of participation and how it works; steering group makes informed recommendations for action to the task force.