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Blog 1 – British Journal of Social Work lived experience issue

7 June 2022

This is part of a series of blogs kindly contributed by the editorial group working on the lived experience edition of the British Journal of Social Work.

Blog one is by Peter Beresford

The special issue of the British Journal of Social Work: Voice and Influence of people with lived experience represents another significant marker of the progress being made to involve people on equal terms – as the subjects of public policy in renewing it – and specifically of pioneering developments in social work.

This special issue is having three strands of contributions and I have been fortunate to be involved in the second of these – reflective pieces – which are led by people as social work service users. So the whole process is riddled through with the full involvement of people with lived experience as service users – the development of the initiative, the shaping of the call, the review process and ultimately the editing of the special issue.

This isn’t the first time that a peer reviewed journal has set out on this course of seeking full and equal involvement from people with such experience, but so far, from my experience, it is one of the most concerted and determined. Of course, it won’t be a bed of roses, nothing new ever is. We have encountered practical problems and been working to overcome those; we’ve had to address access and budget issues seriously – always easier said than done. But it has felt as if the will is there.

More to the point we have at closing date received 60 abstract submissions, just for our reflective pieces strand alone and have been working together to review them in a fair and inclusive way as the first step towards commissioning the articles. If anything tells you how much interest there is in participatory approaches to social work and public policy, this really is it and it certainly gives me the determination and confidence to pursue this opportunity with all strength and wisdom possible.

Peter Beresford is a long term user of mental health services, Co-Chair of Shaping Our Lives and Visiting Professor at the University of East Anglia

Find out more about the special issue of the British Journal of Social Work