Service User Involvement Rationale

The development of the Framework for Service User Involvement   is under pinned by the National Drug Strategy 2009-2016 and its focus on the development of “Service User Involvement and Empowerment “across a number of actions and objectives. The Development of this framework by both Development workers in the South, Gordon Kinsley & James O Dwyer was underpinned by the Action 42 of the National Drug Strategy and the development of “Service User and Drug User Fora”. The NDS itself contains within it seven key areas in relation to service user involvement, they are as follows

  1. Role of the Family in rehab.
  2. Quality Standards for Addiction Services
  3. The NDRIC Framework  (Protocols 1, 2, 3 ,4,5,6,)
  4. Service User-Info &Engagement
  5. Service User Fora
  6. Promote SUI further
  7. Promotion of active engagement by Service Users and Services

This framework has been developed with the assistance of a literature review by the Health Research Board, Consultations with the HSE, Mental Health Commission and HIQUA. As a result of this process and the review of evidence based literature, it is necessary that Service User Involvement and ultimately the development of Service User Fora are incorporated within the operational culture of our services and coordinating structures. Opportunities for involvement and empowerment are essential throughout the different levels of service provision and strategic decision making. Key conclusions from a review of Service User involvement within the Health Service Executive (McEvoy, Keenaghan &Murray 2008, pg6 2008) and that of Coney (2004), Simces (2003) and Ridley and Jones (2002), “is that it is possible to be engaged in numerous involvement activities without really involving people particularly if professionals continue to drive the agenda and make decisions about services and treatments without taking service users views into account “.

The framework is based on the following premise /points

  • For Service User Involvement to be meaningful it must provide  opportunities for involvement and change at all levels i.e. Individual , Service and Strategic Levels
  • Service Users are “stakeholders” in our services , and their views  are essential to the provision and development of services ,policies and strategies
  • Service User Involvement  ultimately means  “change” and there for it needs to have measureable “outcomes” and clearly defined “processes” and “roles “ for Service Users
  • The development of “Fora” in the absence of the framework will lead to more “tokenistic” types of  involvement
  • Once the framework has been put in place the development of  Regional Service User Fora will involve Service Users, who through involvement in their own services have developed the necessary skills , experience , willingness and support to become involved in and take part in Regional/National  Policy Implementation and Strategic Decision making

To download a copy of the Service User Manual click here