The importance of being an expert
I have been an Expert by Experience for almost 3 years and thoroughly enjoy the role.
I work alongside Care Quality Commission Inspectors, as part of the team, to review a service. CQC put the service user at the ‘heart’ of the service, and as such it is vital that the services users are listened to and that we capture their thoughts. I consider I am the voice of the service user, their representative. I speak with service users and their family/advocates.
I think that Experts by Experience offer a different perspective and I hope those who use the service feel able to share how they feel and whether the service they are getting is good enough for them as an individual. I believe service users see me as ‘more relaxed’ and that can help them give more honest answers. I have time to chat, listen carefully, sit and observe in a relaxed and informal way. Because I have first-hand experience I know which questions to ask to get as much from the visit as possible.
It is important that I meet and speak with a diverse and mixed group of service users as possible on the visit.
Having an Expert by Experience on an inspection enables the inspector to focus on other aspects of the inspection. Knowing my report is used to support the inspector’s judgements on the service ensures that I am aware of the difference that having an Expert by Experience on the inspection can make.