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1.1.4 Service User Involvement Policy


This Policy applies to the officers, staff and volunteers within Wirral Children and Young People Services.


"The Department will work to empower Children and Young People to take a full part in all areas of its work.

Wirral Specialist Services believe that it’s involvement with young people should be based on more than consultation: it should empower this group to take a central role in designing, developing and delivering services, and to take ownership and responsibility for services, in which the involvement and participation of the young people we serve, drives our services forward".


A service user is defined, for the purpose of this Policy as a young person between the ages of 0-25 having involvement with the Children and Young People’s Department. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Young people supported under Section 20 1989 Children Act as Child In Need of additional support due to a disability;
  • Young people who have been accommodated under 1989 Children act in either a voluntary or statutory capacity;
  • Young people who qualify for leaving care services;
  • Young people who are supported through a Child in Need or Child Protection Plan;
  • Young people who are supported through Adoption or Fostering Services.


Consultation Policy

Child Friendly Service User Involvement Policy


This chapter was updated in May 2014 to reflect the current structure of the Service.


  1. Aims and Values
  2. Approach
  3. User Involvement in their Own Service
  4. Evaluation and Monitoring
  5. Support for Involvement
  6. Training and Development
  7. Payment for Involvement  
  8. Strategic Planning
  9. New Service Development
  10. Users becoming Staff or Volunteers
  11. Specific Methods to Promote Involvement
  12. Policy Audit and Review
  13. Useful Links

    Appendix 1: Service User Involvement Schedule of Payments 2012

    Appendix 2: Service User Involvement Payment

    Appendix 3: Wirral Specialist Services - Service User Code of Conduct

1. Aims and Values

Wirral Council has a duty to promote good outcomes for children; specifically for children to:

  • Be healthy;
  • Stay safe;
  • Enjoy and achieve;
  • Positively contribute;
  • Achieve economic wellbeing.

In order to promote these outcomes, young people’s involvement is paramount. Services that reflect and take into account the experience, needs and wishes of their users are more likely to be effective in promoting better service provision and that our young people are the best placed to determine how those needs should be met.

This Policy aims to have the following outcomes:

  • Promoting self esteem of those who take part;
  • Raising user expectations;
  • Promoting partnerships to improve service quality;
  • Reducing conflict and exclusion;
  • Finding new ways of delivering existing services and developing new services.

All service users should have the opportunity:

  • To inform and influence services that impact on them, i.e. planning, delivery, monitoring, evaluation, training and recruitment of staff;
  • To make informed choices about the support they receive;
  • To be informed about their services and rights, including equal opportunities, complaints, Health and Safety etc.;
  • To be listened to and supported by staff, partner services and volunteers.

2. Approach

The Local Authority is committed to offer opportunities for involvement at all stages of a child or young person’s contact with Children's Specialist Services. Service user involvement may be related to a person’s individual support, the organisation or making representation to other Specialist Services providers or bodies on behalf of Children's Specialist Services.

3. User Involvement in their Own Service

Wirral Children and Young People’s Department shall ensure that:

  • All staff and young people involved through the service are aware of the charter of participation;
  • Young People are involved in defining what they want out of the services they are offered whilst in the care of Wirral Specialist Services;
  • Young People are involved in regular reviews of services;
  • Young People are able to talk to someone independent if they have a difficulty that cannot be resolved with the person concerned;
  • Young People are aware of the complaints procedures available.

4. Evaluation and Monitoring

The Children and Young People’s department (CYPD) will work with Young People to continually improve on service quality and provision. To build on existing experience the service will work with our target group to improve techniques for monitoring each service area, and support interested young people in being involved, in offering feedback on existing services. Input will be then given to those volunteering information on how this was received.

5. Support for Involvement

Wirral CYPD will promote and encourage young people to actively be involved in how services aimed at them are run. Support will be offered to any young person who becomes involved through this Policy. The support will include enhanced training, personal support, including opportunities to discuss the agenda before each meeting and to be supported during the meeting; and full expenses will be paid. Staff should make the main purpose of meetings clear and ensure meetings are user-friendly and avoid jargon to encourage full participation from users. The person who chairs any meetings with young people’s involvement should be responsible for ensuring that all of the above happens.

6. Training and Development

Training and development are essential requirements if young participants and staff are to develop the appropriate skills and knowledge to work effectively in partnership. Wirral CYPD commits itself to ensuring that the training needs of those actively involved in its services are addressed.

It is recommended that all service users involved in service development receive the following training as required:

  • Introduction to service user involvement (what it involves, what is expected, the benefits of involvement);
  • Participating in meetings (format and protocol or round table meetings, chairing);
  • Influencing / negotiation skills (assertiveness, confidence building, effective communication);
  • Interviewing skills (including equal opportunities) and presentation skills.

7. Payment for Involvement

It must be made clear at the outset of any involvement if payment will be made or not and if so, the rate of pay and /or out of pocket expenses offered. This should be in accordance with the current Service User Payment Policy. Travel expenses will always be paid, but method of transport to be agreed beforehand (See Appendix 1: Service User Involvement Schedule of Payments 2012).

Service users, in receipt of benefits, must accept responsibility for informing the Department for Work and Pensions of any work undertaken to ensure it conforms to the ‘Permitted Work’ rules. Employees must ensure the service users are aware of this responsibility.

8. Strategic Planning

Young people involved with the service will be encouraged to take part in strategic and business planning events, Policy making and activities that determine the vision and direction of the CYPD.

9. New Service Development

All new services will be developed in partnership with their potential users. No service will be approved for development without written evidence of service user consultation.

10. Users becoming Staff or Volunteers

Wirral Children and Young People’s Department believes that young service users can bring unique understanding and empathy to staff and volunteer roles. It encourages active participation in governance, giving service users the opportunity and skills to consider future professional participation. Every application is subject to the Equal Opportunities processes.

11. Specific Methods to Promote Involvement

  • Drop-in sessions: These will be held a minimum four times a year and will be hosted by Specialist Services staff at a neutral venue, and refreshments will be provided. Staff will be responsible for ensuring that all users of their services are aware of the meeting and that venues are suitable to meet access needs;
  • Focus Groups: Each service will hold an annual focus group to consider the way in which the service is delivered and how the service can be improved and developed. A member of staff not involved in delivering the service will facilitate the focus group.

    A focus group of potential users will also be held before any new project is approved for development;
  • Children in Care Council (CICC): All children and young people will have the opportunity to become members of the Children in Care Council. A forum that provides an opportunity to be involved in the decision making, evaluation, planning and delivery of services;
  • Newsletter: A minimum twice a year a newsletter will be available via the CICC website or issued to users who request a copy by post; copies will also be held by members of staff for distribution to their services;
  • Recruitment/Selection/Interview Panels: There will be user involvement in all recruitment of staff. Service users will be appropriately trained and supported, in addition job descriptions will be reviewed by service users;
  • Questionnaires: Questionnaires will include open questions to allow users to raise any issues which concern them;
  • Feedback: All venues will provide a feedback service for service users, which will allow them to make confidential and anonymous comments upon the service;
  • Complaints: When young people come into Local Authority care, they will be provided with a copy of the 'How to Complain' leaflet. Members of staff will provide copies on request;
  • Exit Interviews: experience will be sought;
  • Opportunities: All opportunities for paid and voluntary roles within Wirral Specialist Services will be publicised on the Wirral website and the CICC website;
  • Conferences: All service users, partners and staff will have the opportunity to attend subject specific consultation events where wider direct and timely consultation is appropriate;
  • LAC Reviews: All service users will have the opportunity to attend their review meetings to look at their Care Plan and give their views.

12. Policy Audit and Review

This Policy will be audited annually to ensure that Wirral Children and Young People’s Department continues to improve service user involvement. This Policy will reviewed every two years and further actions to progress the Policy aims will be identified. Identified actions will become part of the Wirral Specialist Services/Inclusion and Involvement Services Business Planning objectives as appropriate.

13. Useful Links

Child Friendly Service User Involvement Policy

Teen Wirral

Reward and recognition: the principles and practice of service user payment and reimbursement in health and Specialist Services (second edition)

Appendix 1: Service User Involvement Schedule of Payments 2012

For the purpose of providing monitoring and advice on Policy and services provided to Wirral Council.

All service users travel costs to be covered when carrying out duties under this Policy.

The costs that a service user is likely to incur in the course of the involvement should be discussed before the involvement starts, to establish the most cost effective method. In most instances this will be the price of a Saveaway ticket.

The service provider and young person may have to agree additional child care costs or use of personal assistant or facilitator, or specific transport based on additional needs. Manner of reimbursement to be agreed beforehand.

If travel expenses can be reimbursed in cash, this should be paid on the day wherever possible.

The following guidance should be used for all payments:

  • Volunteer work including one off sessions (Drop-ins, focus groups etc) travel expenses plus a £10 shopping voucher;
  • Young people’s training sessions for those involved in advising on staff recruitment and training, travel expenses plus a £10 shopping voucher;
  • Advising on recruitment and selection interview panel payments £30 (inclusive of travel expenses) per session for up to three hours;
  • Support to staff training sessions £30 (inclusive of travel expenses) per session for up to three hours;
  • Meeting attendance £20 (inclusive of travel expenses) for up to two hours;
  • Children in Care Council meetings £20 (inclusive of travel expenses) for up to two hours;
  • Conference attendance £50 per day (inclusive of travel expenses);
  • Focus group participation £20 per session in shopping vouchers (inclusive of travel expenses);
  • Independent Members of Specialist Services Panels (Fostering and Adoption etc) £60 per half day session and £15 per hour or part thereof.

The Service User Payment form must be used for all payments and reimbursement of expenses.

Appendix 2: Service User Involvement Payment

Click here to view Appendix 2: Service User Involvement Payment.

Appendix 3: Wirral Specialist Services User Code of Conduct

Click here to view Appendix 3: Wirral Specialist Services - Service User Code of Conduct.