This case study from the Scottish Health Council provides an example of how participatory approaches can be used to incorporate the views of key stakeholders in the provision of health services. The 'Your Say Forum' was set up ten years ago as part of the wider participation agenda, to give looked-after children and young people a voice and a structure to influence decision makers.
'Having Your Say was set up as the result of an initial drive by the Head of Social Policy for West Lothian Council. The main objective of Having Your Say is to provide a forum for participation for looked after young children and people in the area, enabling them to have a say in health and social care issues affecting them.
The key aims of the Forum are to:
- nurture personal, social and emotional development;
- actively involve children and young people in decision-making processes;
- influence service development; and
- Inform young people about their rights
Having Your Say targets young people in three age groups, across primary and secondary aged children, and care leavers in transition. The Children’s Rights Officer stated that “no definite outcomes” had been set for the project in an attempt to avoid being prescriptive. It was felt that set outcomes would result in participants losing interest; instead the Forum evolved “organically”. While the project was initiated by staff, it was emphasised that “young people quickly got on board”.'