Unlocking Service User Involvement Practice in Forensic Settings

NSUN commissioned WISH to conduct a review of involvement practice in forensic settings – many fail to provide adequate and meaningful opportunities for service user involvement. Responses to a survey sent to secure psychiatric hospitals showed low levels of user involvement and a widespread lack of robust structures that would give service users a meaningful say in how services are designed and delivered.

In only 55% of NHS hospitals was there a member of staff with specific responsibility for service user involvement. The most common type of forum for service user involvement was the weekly community meeting (96%), followed by the patient’s council (47%).

The report makes several recommendations – not least that all forensic hospitals should have a designated service user involvement lead post, and a senior manager with specific responsibility for user involvement. NSUN says forensic units also need clear guidelines on good practice and mechanisms for ensuring feedback and assessing the effectiveness of user involvement structures and forums.