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This paper provides an account of one university's experience of involving service users and carers in the delivery of the new undergraduate and postgraduate social work degrees. It poses the question as to whether user and carer involvement in social work education can be viewed as a means of promoting citizen participation or whether it is a case of manipulating relatively powerless groups. In addressing this question, service users and carers and social work tutors describe, from their own distinct perspectives, the processes in which they were both involved.