Book News: April 28th, 2009

This document from the Department for Health outlines the benefits that local authorities, and their residents, enjoy when they work with user-led organisations. Benefits range from helping local authorities deliver greater personalisation to improved engagement with hard-to-reach population groups.

User led organizations are led and controlled by the people who they help, disabled people, carers and other people who use services. They provide a range of services, including information and advice, advocacy and peer support, support in using direct payments and individual budgets, and disability equality training. They bring together people with a common purpose and can include any people with impairments, such as people with learning disabilities, mental health survivors, people from ethnic backgrounds and older people.

The organisations benefit their clients by promoting independent living, empowering citizens to shape their own lives and the services they receive, implementing the Disability Equality Duty, tackling social exclusion and empowering local communities.

They also benefit local authorities by helping to deliver the personalisation agenda and person-centred services, such as information, advice and advocacy support.

Involving user led organizations can bring substantial benefits in delivering programmes in which they add value, such as independent living, health prevention and promotion, employment, carers strategy, community empowerment and social inclusion.

The document argues that user led organizations should be embedded into mainstream structures and processes and that their development should be supported by appointing local champions.