Critical issues in the development of service user involvement

Authored by: Joe Duffy , Peter Beresford

The Routledge Handbook of Service User Involvement in Human Services Research and Education

Print publication date:  August  2020
Online publication date:  August  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138360143
eBook ISBN: 9780429433306
Adobe ISBN:


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Service user involvement continues to grow as an integral part of policy and practice in regard to many aspects of health and social care, professional education and research. This is particularly evident in the UK from where we as authors write, but more importantly, it has become an international development, and there are important examples of service user involvement in many other countries, to which this chapter will also refer. While much progress has been made with regard to service user involvement, it is also important to critically reflect on those key issues which have the force to encourage yet impede its development. Understanding the history of ‘involvement’; its key ideological and policy influences; debates on knowledge and theory; and issues around tokenism, power, social exclusion and othering are aspects of the undergirding conceptual building blocks which are necessary to interrogate in the process of understanding why service user involvement is necessary in the overall architecture of human services policy and practice. This chapter will focus on these key issues and debates, leaving the reader with a critical understanding of service user involvement with regard to its history, development and the nature of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

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