User carer involvement programme

The User and Carer Involvement (UCI) Programme was set up to improve the way Somerset County Council involves service users and carers in its Adult Social Care (ASC) services. The aim of the programme is to put service users and carers at the heart of designing, implementing and evaluating services.

Many people attended a launch event in Stoke St Gregory in July 2011 and a feedback event in July last year. Between those events, some of you took part in workshops with Somerset County Council, which resulted in 10 actions for the Council to take forward. Somerset are committed to being more customer-focussed.

This is a difficult time for all local authorities, including Somerset County Council. As well as the much publicised reductions in funding, there has been considerable restructuring within the Council and this is still going on.

With reduced budgets, it is more important than ever that they provide the right services with the money they do have, and better service user involvement can help them do that.

While there is still a long way to go, they have made progress against most of these actions and this has been summarised in the table below.

Although the User and Carer Involvement programme has now finished, the Council will continue to work to take forward the actions listed in the table.

‘Customers and Communities’ is now a business area within the Council in its own right, and this demonstrates a commitment to getting better at involving and listening to the people who use their services. For ASC in particular, Healthwatch will have a key role to play in the coming months and years, and they would urge all of you to engage with this new organisation if you can.

Somerset County Council understand there is still a long way to go in involving service users and carers, and they will never be able to satisfy everyone’s expectations. But they believe that the Council is moving in the right direction and the UCI programme has contributed that.

If you have any comments or questions about the information in this update, please contact Mark Ford on 01823 359087 or email

>Download: May update table