User involvement is all about designing and delivering activities ‘with’ people rather than ‘to’ people. This way, power is shared and you can find better solutions to problems. Involving users in your impact practice can be done in different ways, at different levels.
Why is user involvement important?
Involving service users in your impact practice can be useful for several reasons:
● By better understanding users’ needs, while harnessing their knowledge and skills, it can help you prioritise and target your evaluation activities.
● It can strengthen staff-user relationships, helping to build user support for and engagement with data collection and evaluation.
● Showing that you listen to and involve users can have direct benefits, giving them a sense of confidence and agency.
● User involvement can give credibility to your findings about the impact your work is having, demonstrating that users’ views are valued and considered.
How can you involve service users?
You can involve people at different stages, and different levels, of your impact practice. At its most basic, this might mean asking people what they think of your priorities and overall approach. At its most involved, users might participate throughout your impact practice. They could co-design evaluation processes and tools, or sit on your board.