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Involving service users and carers in social work education

Context: In 2003 the Department of Health introduced a new qualification for social workers. Previously a diploma, for the first time the social work qualification became a three-year degree course, a move which reflected the difficulty and professionalism of the job. Also for the first time, universities and colleges offering the degree were required to involve service users and carers in the design and delivery of the programme.

Purpose: This guide focuses on how service users, carers and providers of social work education and training can work together on the social work degree. It covers the principles, practicalities and range of approaches to building and sustaining these partnerships.

Audience: The guide is for all those involved in the degree - from programme heads to administrators - but is especially aimed at those responsible for educating and training social workers.

The key messages of the guide apply also to developing service users’ and carers’ involvement in all types of training for social work and social care staff and in the design and delivery of services. 

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