Watchdog calls for user involvement


England’s health and adult social care regulator is seeking disabled people and user-led organisations to play a part in the regulation of services.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is looking for individuals and organisations to help it expand its SpeakOut network, which it runs in partnership with the International School for Communities, Rights and Inclusion at the University of Central Lancashire.

The network supports small and marginalised communities to have a voice in the regulatory process for instance by taking part in studies and reviews, and was originally a partnership between the university and one of the CQC’s predecessors, the Healthcare Commission.

It was launched to help community groups speak out about their experiences of healthcare services.

The network has slowly increased and is now looking also to examine people’s experiences of social care.

Existing members include the Asian Disability Association in Derby, the Bradford Association for Visually Impaired People and Hear Our Voice, an organisation for young mental health service-users in Cornwall.

The CQC said that engaging with the public and community organisations was “central” to its task of effective regulation.

Frances Hasler, the CQC’s head of involvement, said: “We want groups from all over England, including rural and urban areas.

“We are keen to engage with a broad range of seldom-heard groups, including user-led groups and carers.

“This is an opportunity to have your voice heard, to take part in the regulatory process and to raise the profile of your group or organisation at both a regional and national level.”

For more information, contact Khalil Patel at the International School for Communities, Rights and Inclusion, Harrington Building, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE, tel: 01772 892780, or email: [email protected]

The closing date is 29 September.

8 September 2009