This study analyzes the participation of a popular movement in Health Councils institutional spaces and its relation with the executive power. It discusses how this participation happens, since quantitative presence as legal requirement for parity does not mean direct correspondence to interventional ability in these spaces, especially when users' representatives are considered. This aim is explored by the Health Pastoral of the Archdiocese of Vitória, in the municipalites of Vitória and Vila Velha, in the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil. The main methodological resource was participating observation. Research techniques were semi-structured interviews with key informers and focal groups with Pastoral agents. Among results, there are uses and effects of technical and scientific in the dialogue with popular experiences, and the submission of this institutional space to the political will of administrative sectors. Then one must highlight the need for critically discuss the concretization of institutional representation, as counselors agreed that their institutions are not represented in such spaces. However, according to research results, these indications show theses spaces' potentialities and reveal the urge for building them as real democratic tool.
Social participation; social control; Unified Health System; Social movements