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Service User & Carer Advisory Group

The Social Care Workforce Research Unit Service User and Carer Advisory Group was launched in October 2007. There are currently thirteen members drawn from across England including representation from older people, people with mental health issues, disabled people and carers.


Members of the Advisory Group – script in hand – try out the ‘Let’s Talk’ drama tool designed to improve quality in care homes. Left to right: Pauline Weinstein; Michelle Cornes (SCWRU Advisory Group Chair); Tony Beresford; Wes Dowridge; Dorothy Runnicles; Maggie Kirby-Barr; Noreen Haselden

The Group is co-ordinated by Senior Research Fellow Dr Michelle Cornes.

This page covers Aims and Role of the Group, and lists selected publications.


The aims of the Advisory Group are to:

  • Support the Unit to undertake good quality, relevant research that produces useful and accessible evidence;

  • Champion the continuous and active ('hands on') involvement of service users and carers in all aspects of the Unit’s work;

  • Advise on research priorities from a user and carer perspective and to work towards developing the resources for a 'user controlled' work-stream;

  • Offer advice and share ideas relating to the conduct and progress of individual projects and the Unit’s work as a whole - acting as a 'critical friend';

  • Be a conduit for sharing and disseminating good ideas and practice.


Exchanging ideas

The Advisory Group meets quarterly and most meetings take the form of a seminar where a particular social care workforce research topic is discussed.

The group also undertakes more practical tasks such as helping the researchers design and test interview schedules.

Members are also often linked in to the steering groups which have been set-up for each individual research project. Researchers from other universities have taken the opportunity to work with our advisory group because of their specially developed interest in social care workforce issues. The group played an active role in the Department of Health’s Social Care Workforce Research Initiative.

Engaging in research

The Advisory Group has also been at the forefront of encouraging more active user involvement in research. Some members have been trained (or have brought with them) research interviewing skills and have participated in research projects as ‘co-researchers’.

The Advisory Group has recently acted as a ‘mentor’ to a user controlled project entitled ‘Not Just Grapes and Flowers’ which explored the role of hospital visiting from a health and social care perspective on behalf of North Lancashire Teaching Primary Care Trust.

Selected publications

Publications co-produced between Unit Researchers and members of the Unit’s Service User and Carer Advisory Group include:

Kharicha, K., Iliffe, S., Manthorpe, J., Chew-Graham, C. A., Cattan, M., Goodman, C., Kirby-Barr, M., Whitehouse, J. H., and Walters, K. (2017) 'What do older people experiencing loneliness think about primary care or community based interventions to reduce loneliness? A qualitative study in England', Health & Social Care in the Community, 25(6): 1733-1742.

Green, B., Raymond, G., Peardon, J., Fox, D., Hawkes, B. & Cornes, M. (2012) '‘‘Not just grapes and flowers’’: older people’s perspectives on the role and importance of hospital visiting', Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 13(2): 82-88.

Older People Researching Social Issues (OPRSI: Hawkes, B., Raymond, G., Peardon, J., Fox, D., Green, B.) & Cornes, M., (2011), ' "Not Just Grapes & Flowers", Older People's Perspectives on the Role and Importance of Hospital Visiting' [doc, 235 KB]. Funded by North Lancashire Teaching PCT.

Cornes, M., Peardon, J., Manthorpe, J. & The 3YO Project Team, (2008), 'Wise owls and professors: the role of older researchers in the review of the National Service Framework for Older People', Health Expectations, 11(4): 409-417.

Cornes, M., Weinstein, P., Leahy, P. & Duncan, M., (2008), 'Beyond the NSF: continuing older people's involvement and engagement', Journal of Integrated Care, 16(5): 22-29.


21 October 2011 Community Care. An article by Kirsty McGregor examining the SCWRI project, Into the Workforce, reports the views of Advisory Group member Maggie Kirby-Barr.

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