Participation and Representation' were explored as central to users assuming an active role in the use of health and social care. The majority of service users felt that they had been involved in decision making about their discharge from hospital. Service users and their carers were to be both consulted and informed about decisions regarding their discharge and 'at the centre of the planning process'. For service users who wished to play an active role in their use of welfare services, participation in decision making was found to be closely related to choice about service delivery. Advocates clearly fulfil a different role for service users than agents, who tend to be welfare professionals and may have other priorities in addition to representing the interests of the service user. The way in which welfare services are financed and the distinction between purchaser and user in quasi markets, categorically exclude service users from the role of buyer when seeking statutory care.