Service users help create international guide to social care

  • Date

    Mon 23 Jul 18

Professor Peter Beresford

Renowned social policy expert Professor Peter Beresford has co-edited the first international guide based around the views, experiences and insights of service users. The book is aimed at social care policymakers, practitioners, service users and students.

Social policy first hand: An international introduction to participatory social welfare brings together chapters by researchers working in the field of social care and contributions from service users who share their experiences and needs. 

Professor Beresford said: “What sets this book apart is that it’s truly global. It hasn’t been done before and it really addresses issues of diversity. 

“I hope it offers a real alternative to the current direction of social policy internationally which is quite negative, dominated by the view that we can’t afford social welfare anymore.”

Later this year the UK government will publish a green paper on improving care for older people and tackling the challenges of an ageing population. Professor Beresford hopes to see the government take a new approach where service users shape policy, and submitted evidence to a House of Commons inquiry in April.  

This view is at the heart of Social policy first hand and he hopes his latest book will influence a new generation of social care practitioners and policymakers. 

“I hope universities like Essex use it to teach professional courses,” said Professor Beresford. “Professionals shouldn’t just learn from traditional textbooks – they can hear from family carers and service users and their groups and organisations. We know from our own students there’s a real interest in hearing what service users say.

“We want it to reach politicians and policy-makers, but also patient groups, citizen groups and user groups. The book can offer them new insights and guidance and give them a sense they’re part of something that’s really working and possible for the future; that their knowledge – what they know from first-hand experience – has real value.”

Professor Beresford is professor of citizen participation at Essex, emeritus professor of social policy at Brunel University London, and co-chair of Shaping Our Lives. He’s written articles on social care for the Guardian Social Care Network.

'Social policy first hand: An international introduction to participatory social welfare' is out now, co-edited by Professor Beresford and Sarah Carr, and published by Policy Press