This chapter discusses participation initiatives that are designed to contribute to the development of public services that are more responsive to their users. It traces the very different origins and histories of these initiatives, i.e. a community health forum involved in developing a community run health centre, a social services user group seeking to influence the design and delivery of social care services for adults, a patient participation group in a GP surgery, a group aiming to secure the free provision of religious circumcision services for Muslim men by the NHS, and a multi-ethnic group convened by an NHS trust to contribute to ensuring the provision of more appropriate services sensitive to the needs of different ethnic groups within a city. It presents case studies, illustrating the significance of contemporary policy discourses of partnership and community. It considers the way in which deliberation within the forums was shaped by the institutional context and the way in which behavior and responses (both of officials and the public) were guided/influenced by the rules and norms that operated within those contexts.
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