“We Ask what Clients Think”. Involving User Representatives in Quality Evaluation – a Pilot Project from Slovakia

Kvetoslava Repková

Kvetoslava Repková is a senior researcher at the Institute for Labour and Family Research in Bratislava and a university teacher at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Prešov in Prešov. Her research work focuses on the disability studies, long-term care services for people in care needs, including the support of informal carers. In recent years, her research interest has focused very intensively on the issue of quality in social services, including the role that social work plays in this field.

OBJECTIVES: To disseminate the pilot experience with involving user representatives in the work of teams evaluating the quality of social services according to the Social Services Act. THEORETICAL BASE: The study builds upon the concept of valorisation of user representatives´ social roles through their participation in the quality evaluation teams and valorisation of their experiential knowledge for better delivering of social services. METHODS: Context-based analysis and synthesis of available data sources of the pilot project conducted within the national project Quality of Social Services. OUTCOMES: Despite the mostly positive reflections of the stakeholders on the involvement of user representatives in evaluation teams, the pilot project indicated as yet their unclear status, expectations on competences, tasks and working model. Therefore, the question of institutionalizing the involvement of user representatives in evaluation teams (from November 2022 inspection teams) remains open even after termination of the pilot project. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: Contribute to raising awareness and education of all segments of society, including user representatives, on what their active involvement in social services should mean, how it should contribute to improving the quality of social services, and what conditions should be created for it.

quality evaluation, user involvement, social role valorisation, social work, social services

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