Fife Sensory Impairment Centre

Senses Plan Involve Nurture

The Group
Fife Sensory Impairment Centre houses services for people with sensory loss including Fife Council's Deaf Communication Service, Fife Society for the Blind, NHS Fife, RNIB Scotland and Sense Scotland.

What were they trying to achieve?
The aim of the research was to develop ways of jointly involving service users in the development of Fife Sensory Impairment Centre.

How did they go about it?
The research team consisted of four people with sensory loss or from the deaf community; four professionals; a research mentor, and an administrative support worker. The team used focus groups and interviews to find out understanding of the term 'user involvement or participation', experiences of user involvement, views of what good involvement is, perceptions of barriers and how these can be overcome.  The group then did two pilot consultations: one was a physical activity session at a leisure centre, and the other was part of a formal NHS consultation on patient-focused booking.

What did they learn?
There were different preferences for individual and group consultation.  There was a generally positive attitude towards joint consultation, but concern about how it would work in practice.  Based on the research, the key recommendations were:

  • To establish a joint service user group to consider all requests to consult people with sensory loss and from the Deaf Community
  • To establish a joint service user group to provide a forum for consultation
  • Agencies to increase their profile by publicising their services more widely
  • Sensory awareness and sighted guide training for all involved in joint consultation
  • All information to be accessible to people with sensory loss and from the Deaf Community
  • Groups carrying out joint consultation to ensure that they allow sufficient time
  • Groups carrying out joint consultation to ensure funding is available for staff time, administrative support and resources such as interpreters, transport, loop systems, lip speakers, sighted guides and note-takers and DeafBlind Guide Communicators

What difference did it make?
Copies of the report are available in Braille, large print, tape, CD and BSL signed video.  There is also a Flash Card set with simple reminders about consultation.  The partner agencies are discussing with Fife Council the NHS Fife about ways in which the findings can be interpreted to support the new Disability Equalities Duties on public bodies.

Fife Sensory Impairment Centre
Wilson Avenue
Tel:  01592 412666