Inclusive Research for Better Social Care

NO 2

NO 2


The North West People in Research Forum held its third event exploring user involvement in social care and social work research at the Place Apartment Hotel in Manchester on 30 June 2014.  The event was attended by 65 people, with participants including social care service users, carers, members of the public, researchers and social care providers.



Philip Bell opened the event and the morning session was chaired by Bella Starling.   Peter Beresford gave a keynote speech about the origins of modern research, different approaches to knowledge, how we can develop more inclusive research and why doing so is particularly important for social care research.  He drew on his experience as a long term mental health service user and service user researcher, his research work as an academic at Brunel University and from his involvement in service user organisations, particularly Shaping Our lives, the national user led organisation and network which has a long track record of carrying out research locally nationally and internationally.   Peter’s keynote speech is available here.

After the keynote speech there were a number of presentations giving examples of how a wide variety of people who may use social care services have been actively involved in research.



Laura Able talked about her experiences as a co researcher with Julie Ridley on a research project on the quality of Independent Mental Health Advocacy Services and lessons learned from the research, including Ten Top Tips for good involvement.   Laura and Julie’s presentation is available hereDina Poursanidou then talked about her experiences and identity struggles as a mental health service user researcher in an academic setting.  Dina’s presentation is available here.

Jodie Bradley and Vicky Farnsworth, supported by Annie Ferguson, from Speakup Self Advocacy then spoke about their experiences as co researchers with Katherine Runswick-Cole on the ESRC funded Big Society and people with learning disabilities research project.  Jodie and Vicky’s presentation is available here.

The final presentation of the morning was given by Hugh McLaughlin.  Hugh talked about his experiences of involving children and young people in research, the importance and benefits of involving children and young people and issues such as societal attitudes to young people and the existence of gatekeepers.  Hugh’s presentation is available here.

After lunch, Deborah Morris chaired the afternoon session and opened by describing how she became involved in research as a public representative and giving an overview of the aims and work of the North West People in Research Forum.  Simon Denegri then gave an update on the NIHR national Breaking Boundaries review of public involvement in research.  More information is available here.

Participants then broke into small discussion groups to work together to develop a charter for inclusive research in social care. The North West People in Research Forum will now turn these excellent and informative conversations into a document which aims to inspire others to involve service users in research as collaborators not just participants.  We are excited by the number of attendeeswho wish to be consulted in the production of the Charter – we’ll be in touch in the autumn about this.

There has been some really positive feedback about the event from postcards filled in by participants at the event and the post event survey.  86% of people who filled in the survey rated the event as ‘very good’ or ‘good’ and 72% felt that they got what they wanted from the day:

“A very useful day, thank you. Lots of variety which led to much food for thought. A very useful opportunity to gain insight into the organisation [NWPiRF] – its aims, achievements and future direction.”

“Found it a really informative day. Enjoyed the group work and sharing ideas for a good game plan.”

We will look at all the feedback we receive and use it to help plan our future events.



Plenty of people were tweeting during the event – visit the event’s hashtag #SocCare14 to see the tweets and photographs taken on the day.

Acknowledgements: The initial idea for the event came from David Britt, a former public Co-Chair of the NWPiRF Executive Committee. The planning of the event was carried out by public and professional members of the NWPiRF Events Working Group and Executive Committee (led by Claire Planner, Philip Bell, Karen Machin and Hugh Mclaughlin), supported by Melanie Chapman, the NWPiRF Facilitator. Administrative support was provided by the NWPiRF Administrator, Anna Pascalle Flint, and Jo-Anne Simpson and Leanne Gregory from NHS Research & Development North West. The NWPiRF would like to thank everyone who facilitated the afternoon workshops and everyone who attended the event for their important contributions.