Involving users of social care in decision making and the provision of services isn't easy. Giving them a real say means cutting red tape, and trying to make the process less intimidating.
Partnership boards are one way of making this happen. They are committees designed to bring statutory and non-statutory representatives together with service users. Boards are responsible for needs assessment, planning, delivery and assessing performance. And they can cover any adult social care group, including learning disabilities and mental health services.
Councils should ensure important issues are agreed at the boards, and that they are run democratically. The idea is that the meetings should be user-friendly, jargon-free forums, in which people who use the service get a proper hearing and have the chance to influence decisions.