|Approved:||18th August 2014|
Helping Our Future is committed to the creation of sustainable communities and to delivering the best quality and services. We believe that a major factor in realising our commitment is the effective involvement of users and stakeholders.
In order to do this we shall provide a variety of ways for users to be involved (our menu of involvement) and where necessary we will work with other agencies to remove barriers to meaningful involvement.
We will champion equality and diversity as an integral part of our approach to user involvement. We recognise that communities and the different people within them have their own opinions, ideas, knowledge and experiences and we want to make sure that each person is properly represented. All users, including vulnerable and supported users, will be offered the training and support they need to participate confidently and meaningfully.
2.0 The following statement outlines our on-going commitment to involving our customers and our approach to involvement within Helping Our Future. This statement has been agreed with users and provides the context for the User Involvement Policy and Promises 2013 – 2015.
“Helping Our Future values and recognises the benefit user involvement brings and promises that all of our users will have the opportunity to be involved in deciding how we deliver our services.
Helping Our Future will listen and involve users in the planning, decision making and implementation of changes and will ensure that all users are kept informed of all changes.”
Helping Our Future will offer all users to be involved and have a say in the way we deliver our services.
As an organisation, we have a unit wide approach to user involvement and will offer a range of involvement opportunities, these include:
Local Management Team Membership
Service Panel Membership
Service User Groups
Surveys and questionnaires
We will tailor how we deliver these opportunities to ensure that they are meaningful and accessible to all users and offer a range of diverse activities. Guidance on how we do this is given in our Consultation Toolkit and on the Involvement pages on our website.
This unit wide approach will be promoted to customers through our Annual Report and User Involvement Promises for 2014 – 2017 which incorporates our promises to customers and involvement priorities over the next 3 years.
We believe that users should be involved at a level that suits them and we will offer a range of ways in which users can be involved on their terms and to the level they desire. For those that want only minimal involvement we will ensure they have the opportunity to access detailed information on the services we provide, how we are performing and what is planned for the future and opportunities for involvement. We will do this through:
User Promises 2014-2017
Service specific leaflets
News on our website
User Involvement Impact Assessment
4.1 We will produce an online monthly Consultation Calendar in order that customers are aware of the opportunities for involvement. The Consultation Calendar will provide the dates of major service reviews and will be updated quarterly in our customer newsletter.
We ensure users are supported in a range of ways so that they are able to be fully involved. We will provide comprehensive support to individuals or groups which will mean that all customers have equal access to the same level of support, even if that support is given in different ways. We will do this in partnership with our users.
The number of training sessions organised per year that have enabled residents to become involved.
Helping our Future adopts to provide a thriving range of local activities that are relevant to the local area or particular services. In addition users will be involved on a day-to-day basis on matters that affect their home, the neighborhood they live in and the services they receive:
User Involvement Officers will work closely with services users to develop initiatives to encourage a reduction in homelessness, improve education, skills, employment opportunities and health.
Management and Involvement staff will be key to delivering our user involvement promises. Inspections are an important opportunity for users to express their views about the services that we provide. Front line staff will assist users in becoming involved by making them aware of opportunities in their area. They will be supported in doing this through the production of a group wide consultation calendar, which will detail all planned service and policy reviews.
Where users are directly involved in planning service provision we can ensure that we are offering the most appropriate service to meet their needs.
Complaints, comments and compliments are a vital part of feedback from customers. Our aim is to use feedback from these to help us redesign the way our services are provided. Refer to the Complaints and User Care policies for further guidance.
User inspectors will help scrutinise key service areas by contacting customers and reporting satisfaction of services delivered.
We recognise that users of any age, gender, transgender, race, ethnic origin, nationality, sexuality or sexual orientation; or users with any physical or mental disability, religion or religious or other beliefs, marital or family status, caring, maternity and paternity responsibilities, sensitive medical conditions, or lifestyles should be treated equally and fairly. We will be sensitive to residents’ and service users’ individual needs and will tailor our approach to involving all our users accordingly. We will:
Take steps to identify any language or communication requirements and ensure that we provide information in the appropriate format.
We will provide a bank of user community interpreters so users can get actively involved.
Hold meetings and events in places accessible to people with disability, mobility or sensory impairment needs.
Take care to hold meetings and events on a range of days and at a range of times to ensure that we do not exclude people with diverse commitments.
Be aware of and avoid planning meetings and events during religious or cultural days or festivals.
Hold events in safe spaces to enable people who may be subject of Hate Crime to participate in consultation events.
Whilst the menu of involvement is applicable to all users, we recognise that different techniques and processes will be required to ensure that all users are able to participate in that menu. Involvement plans will be developed for specific services that are tailored to service users.
We will employ a range of involvement techniques and activities and where appropriate we will use creative involvement, such as art, drama and music to help users communicate their thoughts and opinions. We will also maximise the use of electronic consultation.
We will take steps to increase engagement with those users who may have been un-represented in involvement activities. This includes:
Asylum seekers and refugees
Those with learning disabilities
Those who have experienced domestic abuse (including same sex abuse and adult abuse)
People with Drug and Alcohol dependency issues
We will ensure that any involvement activity is carried out with users in a safe space to share their thoughts and experiences.
It is important that as many users from as wide a range of backgrounds and social groups as possible are able to take part in involvement activities and that they are properly supported to do this. Often, users who take part in involvement activities gain valuable skills and experience, which can increase their life chances. We will incorporate a training element into our involvement programme, not only helping to change services but also change the lives of people who take part.
Users should feel the time they are giving up to be involved is valued. We will reflect this in terms of the feedback people receive, qualifications or skills obtained, or payment for the time spent attending meetings and events.
In accordance with the Involvement and Empowerment Consumer Standard framework, we will:
Ensure that corporate objectives reflect our approach to and plans for involving service users.
Publish an annual Impact Assessment which can demonstrate how service users have been involved.
Have at least one user board member.
Consult with users on the best way to involving them in governance and scrutiny and management and the policies and strategies of Helping Our Future.
Produce a User Involvement Promises 2014-2017 document detailing how customer involvement will be encouraged and how feedback from involvement outcomes will be included in the running of the organisation.
Review the User Involvement Promises 2014-2017 using impact assessments which show how services have been improved.
Produce a version of the our Promises for users in a user-friendly format such as a leaflet consulted on by users.
Carry out a yearly review of how the User Involvement Promises 2013-2015 and Service User Involvement have been implemented called an Impact Assessment. The review will look at what has been achieved, who has been involved, and whether the involvement has provided value for money. A report will go out to all users detailing the findings of the Impact Assessment.
The User Involvement Promises 2014 -2017 sets out the involvement activities users can expect from us. The application of these promises will be assessed on an annual basis and a unit wide Impact Assessment.
The User Involvement Promises 2012-2015, Impact Assessment will detail how we have achieved the requirements of the Involvement & Empowerment Standard.
All involvement publicity materials, irrespective of the service area, will:
Give clear information about how users can become involved.
Give clear information about how users issues or concerns will be addressed.
The Policy, Performance and Involvement Manager is responsible for developing the strategy for involvement.
On a practical level, user involvement is the responsibility of each member of staff and lead by our specialist team of User Involvement Officers.
Guidance and advice can be obtained from the following specialists:
Policy, Performance and Involvement Manager
User Involvement Officer Team Leader
User Involvement Officers
Equality and Diversity Policy Advisor
Through the development of dedicated web pages, our user service standards and other publicity materials, we will ensure that all residents and service users are informed about how involved users are making a difference and how they too can be involved.
We will produce and publish service standards agreed with our users on an annual basis.
We will monitor the standards agreed and publish the performance on a quarterly basis.
The success of involvement will be monitored by the responses received from residents and service users who have been involved.
Involvement Indicators will measure:
The number of residents involved in both formal and informal structures.
The number of residents involved in formal decision making structures (i.e. Boards).
The number of residents who are satisfied with the opportunities for participation in decision making.
Equality and Diversity concerns and priorities are intrinsic throughout this Document and reflect the Protected Characteristics as highlighted within The Equality Act 2010.
Helping Our Future Equality & Diversity Strategy 2014/17 key priorities are also reflected within this policy. The policy document also works within the remit of the Equality & Diversity policy.
Helping Our Future also recognizes that Socio-economic factors can often impact upon users who are willing to access involvement events. We will make every attempt to enable all users who want to be involved be involved.
Helping Our Future User Insight Team and Equalities officer will also provide bespoke practical equalities training to all our involved users to ensure that we equip our Involved users with insight and understanding of the
diversity of people that live within the Bradford district and the challenges faced by diverse communities.
Helping Our Future is committed to engaging with representatives from all the protected characteristic groups and enabling them to become involved users.
We will challenge all forms of discrimination that we are made aware of by utilising all avenues open to us to enable us to ensure that we provide equal and non-discriminatory services to all.
16.1 This policy will be reviewed bi-annually or following relevant legislative or regulatory changes.