Social work education should promote social justice, ensuring non-discriminatory and inclusive practices. The involvement of service users in social work education is an essential part of working towards a fairer society that respects civil and human rights and challenges inequality.
Service users should be supported to take an active role in all aspects and all stages of social work education. Physical, environmental, attitudinal and cultural and communication barriers to this should be removed.
PowerUs promotes gap mending methods in social work education, where social work students and service user work and learn together including integrated courses on equal terms in order to improve social work practice, theory and research. Participants of the PowerUs network practice these methods in their day-to-day practice.
All service user involvement should be properly valued. This involvement should be resourced and funded appropriately.
Accredited education and training should be developed and made available to service users. This will help ensure that service users are treated as equal partners in social work education.
The involvement of service users should not be seen as a substitute for recruiting and employing people with such experience generally as academic staff. On the contrary, PowerUs promotes strategies to mobilize service users into the academic system.