The term “Citizen Leadership” was coined by the User and Carer Panel as part of the 21st Century Social Work Review.’ This review brought us the important policy document called Changing Lives. Changing Lives envisages the transformation of social services in Scotland in part by enabling people who use services and carers to become more involved in all aspects of service design, delivery and evaluation. This means that people who use services and carers need to become leaders too.
The User and Carer Panel thought that learning opportunities in leadership should be provided to help people who use services and carers develop greater leadership skills. As part of the development of this learning object we met with John Dow who is the Chair of Scottish Voices. Scottish Voices is made up of groups and networks of people who use social work services or care for someone who does. Group members are involved because they want to make a difference to education and training across the social care sector at both local and national level. John felt leadership skills were extremely important in meeting these aims. Status issues and jargon are still very strong features in discussions about practice learning amongst academics, managers and professionals. John felt that strong vision, self confidence and personal resilience were very important if people who use services and carers were to influence such discussions. John also felt peer support and encouragement was very important in developing leadership capabilities. For further information on citizen leadership you could visit the website of the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability (SCLD).
"The Changing Lives User and Carer Panel, who devised the central ideas of citizen leadership, and later on produced the Principles and Standards of Citizen Leadership."
Please spend a few minutes making notes in relation to the following question.
How could you help services users and carers exercise greater leadership in social services?
Again, please spend some time noting down your thoughts on the following question: