• Participation¿why bother?: The views of Black and Minority Ethnic mental health service users on participation in the NHS in Bradford. Report of a community research process undertaken by the International Centre for Participation Studies, University of Bradford and Sharing Voices (Bradford).

      Blakey, Heather (International Centre for Participation Studies., 2005)
      The International Centre for Participation Studies and Sharing Voices Bradford (for information on these organisations, see Appendices 3 and 4) maintain that participation is an important part of a healthy democracy, with benefits for all. However, participation can be anything from empowering to tokenistic, and must be critically examined if we are to understand how to use it effectively. This paper considers the contribution of participation to improved service delivery in the health service. For beneficiaries, participation can be about ownership and responsibility for the services we use, as well as rights and the chance to express what we want from them. For service providers, participation is widely recognised as an effective way of tailoring services to the needs of the different communities they serve. The NHS and other service providers have made great strides in developing mechanisms for participation by service users. However, these do not always reach all sections of the community. Many individuals feel sceptical about getting involved, unconvinced that their contribution could make a real difference. Through the Participation ¿ Why Bother? workshops, we set out to explore these feelings, to reflect on perceived barriers and identify changes that might help overcome them. The aim was not to look at the substance of service delivery issues, but to try and work out how the process of involving people in decision-making in the NHS could be improved, to make it easier for voices from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities to be heard.