What better way to gain an insight into the current needs of social services other than to ask the service users and carers themselves? The Social Work Education Participation (SWEP) website aims to achieve this by giving a voice to service users and carers -people who are often isolated - on their experiences of, and perspectives on, social care.
The creation of the site is the outcome of two papers: Involving service users and carers in social work education, by Enid Levin; and Common aims - a strategy to support service user involvement in social work education by Fran Branfield, Peter Beresford and Enid Levin. Developed by a partnership of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), Shaping our Lives, the University of Sussex, and a steering group made of services users and carers, the SWEP website has been developed to share good practice in the involvement of service users and carers in social work education.
The site welcomes social care users, students, care professionals and educators to contribute examples of current practice; share their experiences, training materials and related resources; highlight useful events, news or links; and initiate discussions on key social work issues.
The homepage offers links to information on why get involved, how to get involved and how to get others involved, as well as links to news, events, videos and documents on the topic of social work education. Accessing news, events, videos and documents can be refined using a tool that is accessible on the homepage, and which allows users to click on whatever region of Britain they would like information on, rather than having to view everything.
Posting content is straightforward by simply registering and then logging in. The 'Help' button on the homepage gives instructions on how to do this.
SWEP also provides an 'Accessibility' button on the homepage for users to understand how to make the text bigger, how to change screen colours and how to use access keys on the keyboard.