Service User Involvement

Brief background to the area of Special Interest:

This SIG explores the participation of service users in social work research and social work education. It will deal with a number of issues:
- Why should we involve service users? What benefits do service users bring to the research and education process?
- Forms of involvement; when is involvement meaningful?
- Barriers and enablers to involvement
- Experiential knowledge and its meaning in social work research and education
- Ethical and practical issues in involving service users in research and education

Despite the care and reframing that it demands, service user (or citizen) involvement contributes to innovations in research and education. This deserves further investment, experimentation and implementation on an international scale.

Service user involvement in research is an essential component for our fuller understanding of the difficulties, problems and opportunities faced by service users who are in receipt of the services and how these might be addressed in a more collaborative co-production methodology. Importantly, we need more studies involving service users that focus not just on the process of research, but just as importantly, if not more so, on the impact and outcomes of service user involvement for delivering more effective services.


The aim of this SIG is to exchange information about our work regarding service use involvement, to share good practices, to engage in joint projects, and to promote service user involvement in general



The SIG has around 55 members and is having an annual meeting before the ESWRA conferences. Members are participating in several networks and projects. We work together with the PowerUs Network and the CARe Network.


Kristel Driessens, Karel de Grote-Hogeschool , Antwerp, Belgium

Sidsel Therese Natland, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences , Norway

Joe Duffy, Queen's University Belfast, UK

Hugh McLaughlin, Manchester Metropolitan University, U.K.

If you want to join or want more information, please contact Kristel Driessens or Sidsel Therese Natland



download member list.