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7. Writing in the voice of adults

A key goal in social work is to ensure that individuals, their concerns, needs and well-being are at the heart of any decisions and actions. This goal is captured in phrases such as ‘Putting people first’ (Department of Health, 2007, Putting people first: a shared vision and commitment to the transformation of adult social care). One related policy and practice in adult care, often referred to as ‘personalisation’, involves individuals taking active control over their needs, including organising their own care and budgets for their care.

Some written texts reflect this emphasis on the individual in the templated headings which are in the first person of the service user and require a first person response

My ability to participate in the assessment and support planning process—

 I have substantial difficulty with—

Read the extracts below from an assessment report in the first person of the service user. Use the highlighting tool to mark all references to the service user in the first person (I, me, my..).

As you read reflect on the following questions:  What effect does a first person report have on the reader? To what extent do you think it helps to keep the person more central? Would it have a different effect if written in the third person (she, her..)?

At times I cannot go out far on my own due to my anxiety.

I need additional support with personal care, domestic duties and support to manage my mental health.

I would like my PA (personal assistant) with me to support me when I go out especially when I shop, collect my money so that I feel like I can cope and be prepared if anything happens.

I have history of being suicidal and it is important that I have additional support to talk things through with someone close to me, who understands me, knows me well.