Service User Involvement in the British Red Cross: Experience and Factors Affecting Willingness to Participate

Prof Doc Thesis

Hickin, Natasha Louise 2016. Service User Involvement in the British Red Cross: Experience and Factors Affecting Willingness to Participate. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology
AuthorsHickin, Natasha Louise
TypeProf Doc Thesis

There has been an increase in momentum around service user involvement in
service evaluation, planning and delivery since the 1980’s. This change resulted
from both the shift to market-led approaches to service provision, and the rise of
influential service user and carer movements. Service user involvement is now
a necessity for services in Health and Social Care; however, the coordination of
these activities is complex and studies continue to reveal tokenistic practices.
Large organisations, especially those with diverse service user populations,
have an even greater challenge. Since the introduction of Any Qualified
Provider, charitable organisations are now able to bid for statutory services. The
British Red Cross has service user involvement at the heart of its corporate
strategy, and has already won several statutory contracts.
Nine individuals who had both used British Red Cross services and
subsequently been involved in service user involvement initiatives took part in
semi-structured interviews. The interview questioned them on their experiences
and motivations for becoming involved. Each interview was transcribed and
thematic analysis conducted on the data. Four themes were identified across
the data, each indicating important areas in the process of service user
involvement; ‘motivations when starting out’, ‘“I committed myself to them”’,
‘barriers and challenges’ and ‘room for improvement.’ Service user involvement
was revealed to be patchy within the British Red Cross and participants
indicated both a lack of clarity over their role, and lack of follow up after
involvement. Despite this, participants described their experiences favorably
and all expressed a desire to continue their involvement with the organisation.
Key factors influencing participants decision to become involved initially differed
from those that impacted on their on going involvement. Experiences key to the
continued involvement of the participants were the social aspect of involvement,
skills development, and feeling valued by the organisation. This study again
highlighted the complexities of service user involvement within large diverse
organisations. Implications of the findings for both the British Red Cross and
similar organisations are considered.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Nov 2016
Publisher's version
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