We emphasise public involvement as a key feature of the School, integral to our research and research capacity development activities. Our involvement initiatives focus on four broad groups: i) people who use adult social care services (service users); ii) unpaid family carers of service users; iii) adult social care practitioners; and iv) the public.

Our strategic objectives for involvement and engagement are:

  • to understand best practice around involvement and engagement;
  • develop comprehensive approaches to the engagement of users, carers and professionals (and the wider public); and
  • support their capacity development to engage meaningfully with research.

Our approaches are informed by the NIHR’s National Standards for Public Involvement in Research.

We are constantly striving to learn from our experiences of involvement and improve our processes as a result.

Governance

User, carer and practitioner involvement remains integral to our governance processes. The School’s User, Carer, Practitioner Reference Group (UCPRG) meets regularly, with two members representing the Group on our Advisory Board.

All partners within the School additionally involve users, carers and/or practitioners in the governance of their research groups.

Research

All of our studies have to ensure appropriate opportunities for public involvement in their research with tailored approaches to reach these groups. Our studies are working with young adult carers, people with behaviours that challenge, people with learning disabilities, people with mental health needs – among many others – and have provided inclusive opportunities for individuals to be involved in projects. A number of our studies have worked together with people who use services, carers and/or practitioners to co-produce or co-develop their study or elements within it.

Most of our studies have advisory or steering groups which include users, carers or practitioners as appropriate.

Impact case stories of involvement in our studies and the difference this has made to both the research and to the individuals involved will be available soon.