User participation has become one of the most important concepts in the social care sector in many European countries, but the literature has mostly paid attention to disabled people or those with mental health problems. This article compares the user participation policies directed at social care for older people in Norway and England. Using a discourse analytical approach, a selection primarily of White papers from the 1960s until today are analysed. The analysis draws on the literature's discourse discussion, including a democratic/rights based discourse (full citizenship), a consumer discourse (consumers’ rights to choose welfare services), a co-production discourse (users and state/local authorities partnerships), and nuances of these discourses. The analysis shows that, while both countries start with variations of a democratic discourse, Norway develops a temporary and weak consumer discourse in a middle phase, then moves to co-production in current times. England, on the other hand, develops a comprehensive consumer discourse but also a surprisingly strong co-production discourse – the idea of a ‘Big Society’ – in early and current times.