Social Work Service User and Carer Participation and Advisory Group

The Service User and Carer Participation and Advisory (SUPA) Group is made up of carers and service users supported by an academic lead based in the School.

We represent a wide range of people who social workers will come into contact with in their practice. We offer a channel between service users, carers, staff, students and other groups of people with lived experience at other HEIs to discuss inclusiveness and values in social work. The group was established in 2005.

Our aims and role

We aim to improve social work teaching by influencing the teaching in our Social Work degree programmes from a service user and carer perspective.

The group supports students and staff by sharing information and personal experiences of service users and carers in York and the surrounding areas. We provide first-hand knowledge to enhance students' learning in their preparation for practice, with valuable insights that cannot be offered by textbooks alone. Our honest views about how services users and carers wish to be treated helps to overcome assumptions and dispel myths that may be held within the social work community.

Our involvement

  • Interviewing/recruitment of Integrated Masters and postgraduate Social Work students.
  • Take part in role-playing scenarios to aid communication skills.
  • Take part in student assessments.
  • Read through placement reports to give a service user’s perspective on language and content used.
  • Advise students on what to expect on placements and how to conduct themselves when in a work setting. 
  • Participate in seminars and delivery of lectures to share particular in-depth knowledge of their field. 
  • Influence the structure of the course/teaching through our board meetings.
  • Attend and present at regional service user forums and national service user conferences at other universities.