5 Jan 2021

Learning from the experience of service users and carers

Learning from the experience of service users and carers

Learning from lived experiences

Continuing to learn through your practice involves learning from the lived experiences of people who you are working with. This is a central element of your CPL and important to reflect on. Let’s think about what we mean by learning from these experiences.

Learning through feedback from service users and carers

The ideas presented below are drawn from work with service users and carers to inform authentic involvement.

Principles: Meaningful and inclusive involvement starts with a commitment to shared principles and values. It is therefore important to establish and communicate how, when and why feedback will be gathered and how this will be used, this should be detailed in the supervision contract. 

Purpose: The purpose of service user feedback needs to be clear and clearly communicated to everyone involved (service users need to understand and consent to the activity).

Presence: We would like to see a diversity of service users and carers involved. The people who are involved need to reflect the nature and purpose of the NQSW’s role and practice.

Process: The process of service user feedback needs to be carefully planned to make sure that service users and carers can make the best possible contribution. It is therefore important to consider when and how feedback will be sought (and to recognise that service users have the right to decline to provide feedback if they wish). 

Impact: For feedback to be meaningful, it needs to make a difference to the NQSW’s understanding and practice. 

Learning through practice takes many different forms and by reflecting on this we can capture really important points that we have learned about how we work, how we understand and how we respond as social workers.

Questions to Ask

  • What are the most important things you have learned as a social worker through your work with people using services?
  • How can you ensure you integrate learning from lived experience in your CPL?
  • How can you support your team to learn from lived experiences?

You can contact us on if you have comments and suggestions about helpful resources we can include for NQSWs on this topic.

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