Case Studies / Activities
We would like you to think about the how service users and carers are involved in different aspects of social work. For example, as recipients of services, as contributors to the design of services or as participants in research. As a starting point for the activity a short discussion of the background to service user and carer involvement is provided. This includes some information about different discourses of involvement which we believe are useful to consider.
The importance of advocacy is frequently discussed in the context of support for people with learning disabilities. For example, in Chapter 15 of this text Simon Gardner discusses the importance of speaking up and Steve Morrison outlines the role of independent advocates. Mackay (2007) discusses a range of different types of advocacy. These include:
- Group or collective advocacy
- Citizen advocacy
- Peer advocacy
- Family advocacy
- Professional advocacy
Spend some time finding out:
- What these different types of advocacy are.
- What types of advocacy are easily accessible to the service users with learning disabilities in your local area.
Are there gaps in current provision? Is access to advocacy subject to gatekeeping of any kind, and if so, by whom?
Consider the difference between advocacy and the advocating role that social workers may undertake on behalf of service users.
Can social workers ever really be advocates? In thinking about your answer consider the role of professional power and status.