Role descriptors: a great tool to get carers involved in your work

Special blog written for Reading Mental Wellbeing Group

Do you have a bit of a challenge getting carers involved in your work? Then there’s a nifty tool called a role descriptor that can really help.

Role descriptors frame what’s expected of you and carers in very explicit but simple terms.

Role descriptors are normally 2-3 pages long and cover six key areas:

Background and timeframe. Aim/purpose/vision of group, project, task.

Carer Role. What is it you’d like the carers to do (eg in a group you might like them to represent and liaise).

Carer experience and skills – essential/desirable. I’ve found these really help the carer reflect/be able to detail the skills that they already have. Putting it in jargon-speak they help the carer map their innate assets.

Carer support. How are you going to help them in their role? (eg if it’s joining a group you might like to provide them with a handbook, training, pre-meetings . . . ).

Reward and recognition/Payment

Who to contact. If the carer wants to express an interest in getting involved.

Best of luck! Not that you’ll need it because 25 years of experience in policy and public affairs has taught me that role descriptors work in capturing interest and getting people involved.

Background information about me and the group: I am a member (carer representative) of the Reading Mental Wellbeing Group (RMWG) and have been helping the group better incorporate the seldom heard voice in our work.

RMWG was specifically set up to:

• “Provide a central point for the voices of mental health service users and carers to be heard and acted upon.

• Ensure that the profile of mental health issues is raised and that outcomes for people who use mental health services and their carers are improved.”

Among many other things . . .

If you happen to be reading this and you’re an unpaid carer yourself; and you’re interested – perhaps – in getting involved with the Reading Mental Wellbeing Group as a carer rep then please do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.