What does meaningful participation mean to you?

“To me it means really listening, taking on board what users are saying and if you can’t take it on board telling them why you can’t do it.”

“When the information and experiences we gather from people actually make a difference to services as a result.”

“It means communication.”


This week, The Disability Partnership worked with NHS England and the South West Strategic Clinical Network, to host the event ‘Meaningful Participation for Disabled People’. The Partnership is made up of Sense, Mencap, Scope, and the National Autistic Society.

This was the second Meaningful Participation event and there are still more to come across the country. The purpose is to enable and support disabled people, service providers and commissioners in working together, on an equal platform, to create better health and social care.

Meaningful Participation fundamentally highlights the importance of collaboration in policy making and key to this is making these events inclusive and accessible. Throughout the day, people told us how important this was:

“The event has been inclusive, with a wide range of people catered for. It is an example of what could be done.”

“It was great to meet with a diverse range of people. Having an Easy Read information pack was good.”

The workshops covered transforming care for people with learning disability/Autism and behaviour challenges, The Care Act, Local Offer, Integrated Personal Commissioning, primary care services, parent-carer participation, and finally The Accessible Information Standard. After an informative day, full of discussion, we were delighted to hear people’s responses when asked what they will take away or do differently after this event:

“Today has given me some really good ideas about engagement and helping to make sure that I can really listen to what service users are saying and pass that back up through the system.”

“I will go back through the Care Act Guidance to reinforce and widen my knowledge.”

“I am going to look into our Local Offer – whether we have one, what does it look like and are people involved in the way that they ought to be?”

“I am going to work towards making sure all material I produce is accessible.

For more about the event look out for our highlights video – coming soon! Please contact us if you would like to know more about The Disability Partnership and future projects.

Author: A'Ishah Waheed

Campaigns Involvement Officer for Sense Public Policy

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