University invites North East Service Users to ‘Get Involved’

The School of Applied Social Studies at Robert Gordon University is inviting past and present social work service users in Aberdeen City and Shire to join its Service User Panel - a unique interface for knowledge exchange between service users and social workers in training.

A ‘Getting Involved' workshop to inform potential members will take place on Monday 29 November from 10am to 3pm at the Faculty of Health and Social Care on the University's Garthdee campus.

Established in 2004, the Service User Panel meets regularly to allow members to offer their insights into student selection, student assessment and course evaluation. They are encouraged to give direct input into teaching content and to comment on wider national developments by sharing their personal views and experiences of Service engagement.

This month's workshop aims to provide service users with information about the Panel, encourage new people to get involved with the Panel and related activities within the social work courses, and to generate ideas for the Panel's future activities.

Rob Mackay, a lecturer at the University's School of Applied Social Studies, is one of the academic co-ordinators behind the Panel. He said, "The Service User Panel is keen that as many service user groups in the region take part in this workshop, and help to shape the future direction of service user involvement activities within the School.

"The Panel has been a vital resource to the School since its creation, and I believe its success has been helped by our core principles, which state that this is not a tokenistic effort, that all groups have a voice and that respect for privacy and the confidentiality of members is paramount."

Margaret has been involved in the Service User Panel for the last six years. "Going in and sharing my experiences has been very rewarding for both me and the Social Work students I've encountered. The feedback I've received from the students would indicate that it is a much more meaningful experience to be able to meet service users, hear their ‘story' and have the opportunity to ask them questions, than to be given a textbook case history," she said. "I have always felt extremely well supported by staff. It's great to feel you are making a positive impact which will hopefully help to produce future social workers who will be as well informed as possible of clients' needs."

The Service User Panel ‘Getting Involved' workshop will take place on Monday 29 November from 10am to 3pm at the Faculty of Health and Social Care on the University's Garthdee campus. Those interested in attending or looking for further information on the Panel should contact Rob Mackay on 01224 263212 and, or Jill Brannan on 01224 263216 and

ENDS 18 November 2010

Pauline Smith
Communications Officer
Robert Gordon University
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262389