Service User Consultations update from Sharon Schaffer

Not another consultation!

The Vision Strategies are now entering their second round of service user consultations…

Each year, each Vision Strategy Action Plan has, built into it, a consultation with service users, with the two fold aim of

  1. Updating local people on the milestones, achievements and challenges faced by the Vision Strategy Group in implementing the Action Plan over the past year
  2. Identifying and discussing the priorities for action in the year to come.

This year, having heard the priorities and areas of concern from the previous year’s consultations, I wanted to not only report and invite feedback on the Vision Strategy Group’s activities, but also bring the ‘horse to the water’, so to speak, so that service users could hear it from the horse’s mouth, and hold providers to account…

The first such consultation took place in Waltham Forest on 12.10.15, and was run in association with local user support organisation, Waltham Forest Vision, and Healthwatch Waltham Forest.

The very next day Hackney VI Group hosted a consultation on behalf of the Hackney Vision Strategy Group, and on 25th November a similar event will be held in Redbridge where attendees will receive updates from officers from the London Borough of Redbridge on:

  • Welfare & Benefits Advice
  • Work Redbridge: employment and training opportunities
  • Care Act: Implications and changes
  • Redbridge Fairness Commission Recommendations
  • Redbridge Leisure and Culture Strategy

My hope is that it will be as informative for the officers as it is for the service users/residents.

With the Seeing It My Way outcomes providing an excellent measurement framework, and the emphasis moving away from ‘for the blind’ to ‘with’ vision impaired people, consultation, user involvement and the gauging of impact, has to be at the heart of what we do, otherwise it just becomes a hotch potch of ‘do-goody’ intentions at best, or self-serving career justification at worst.

My thanks, therefore, to all those who have, or are planning to, participate in these consultations. I hope to have more positive developments next year, but in the meantime, if you have any thoughts and comments please contact me on


T: 07875 541133

NB: A more detailed article on this theme is available on the ELVis website:

Have a wonderful week:)


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East London Vision (ELVis) is the subgroup for the 7 geographical areas that naturally cover all of east London north of the Thames: • Barking and Dagenham • City and Hackney • Havering • Newham • Redbridge • Tower Hamlets • Waltham Forest. ELVis is designed to provide an effective and efficient way of ensuring that vision impaired people living in East London get the support and services they need. It is an umbrella organisation with voluntary sector, user led representation in each of the east London boroughs. Our vision is that everyone living in East London experiencing, or at risk of, any form of sight loss, receives a high quality service relevant to their need and at a time appropriate for themselves. Our aim is to enhance & link vision impaired services and organisations throughout East London, improving the quality of life for blind and partially sighted people and increasing individual independence.

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