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What is Co-production?


Image shows Martin, a white man with light brown hair, wearing round framed, metal glasses and smiling. He is wearing a blue suit, white shirt and silky looking pink tie. The Boutonnieres on his lapel is a pink flower and what appears to be a rosemary stem.
[Image description: Martin, a white man with light brown hair, is wearing round framed, metal glasses and smiling. He is looking very smart - wearing a blue checked-pattern suit, white shirt and silky-looking blush-coloured tie. The boutonniere on his lapel is a pink flower and what appears to be a rosemary stem.]

A guest blog from Martin Symons, one of our trustees, in which he delves into the hugely important concept of co-production.


My name is Martin and I’m currently a trustee here at Equal Lives. I’m also the Chairperson of ‘Making it Real Norfolk’ or MIR. MIR is a group that advises how to effectively engage those who use services in the design and delivery of Adult Social Care.


I’ve been involved in co-production one way or another for the past 14 years, and for the past 8 years, I’ve done that through my role at MIR.




What is MIR trying to do?

MIR wants to work with health and social care to bring together people who deliver services and those using their services to design their services before point of delivery.


What are the main elements of co-production?

The six principles of co-production:

  • Recognising people as assets

  • Building on people's capabilities

  • Developing two-way, reciprocal relationships

  • Encouraging peer support

  • Blurring boundaries between delivering and receiving services

  • Facilitating rather than delivering


What is co-production?


When Commissioners and/or senior staff in Adult Social Care have ideas about changing or providing services, rather than designing themselves they bring in those who use services to help and gauge ideas. We, at Making it Real, advise how they should go about this, ideally starting from the bottom of the co-production ladder and working up, not half way or near the top when a project is near complete. If the latter happens it’s more of a ‘tick box exercise’, which we do not promote.


What is the Co-production Ladder?


On a lilac pink background is the Equal Lives logo. Underneath are the bold purple words 'What is The Coproduction Ladder?'. The image shows words over rungs of a ladder, split into three categories; The 2 top rungs have purple text that reads 'Co-production and Co-design' are 'Doing with; in a reciprocal partnership'. The next 3 rungs down are written in orange text saying 'Engagement, Consultation and Informing' are 'Doing for; engaging and involving people'. The final 2 rungs are words in green text that say 'Educating and 'Coersion', which are 'Doing to; trying to fix people who are passive recipients of service'.  Image Credit: Think Local Act Personal.
[Image description: On a lilac pink background is the Equal Lives logo. Underneath are the bold purple words 'What is The Coproduction Ladder?'. The image shows words over rungs of a ladder, split into three categories; The 2 top rungs have purple text that reads 'Co-production and Co-design' are 'Doing with; in a reciprocal partnership'. The next 3 rungs down are written in orange text saying 'Engagement, Consultation and Informing' are 'Doing for; engaging and involving people'. The final 2 rungs are words in green text that say 'Educating and 'Coercion', which are 'Doing to; trying to fix people who are passive recipients of service'. Image Credit: Think Local Act Personal.]

You can see here that at every stage from consultation, to design and delivery – the users of the services are engaged in meaningful, two way co-production.


An example of bad practice in co-production is when a council officer gives a full presentation of a proposed solution and asks for approval or a "rubber stamp" without genuinely involving and seeking input from those who use services.


On the other hand, an example of good practice in co-production is when a group like MiR designs, creates, and presents a training plan for co-production, and then converts it into an online resource. This example showcases the true meaning of "nothing about us without us", as the training is created by and for those who will be using the services.


How Can You Get Involved in co-production?

We need people who use services within Adult Social Care to join us and be the voice for others, if this is something you may be interested in, we would love to hear from you, please contact us at info@equallives.org.uk


Photograph was taken at the recent launch of the Online Co Production training for Adult Social Care. Martin, a white man with brown hair and round framed, metal spectacles smiles. He is wearing a zip up brown jumper with white flecks throughout and a lanyard around his neck. Martin is stood in front of a table laden with coffee, tea and a gigantic rectangular cake with white icing. He is holding the knife just about to cut the cake.
[Image description: Photograph was taken at the recent launch of the Online Co Production training for Adult Social Care. Martin is wearing grey trousers and a zip-up brown jumper with white flecks throughout and a lanyard around his neck. Martin is stood in front of a table laden with coffee, tea and a gigantic rectangular cake coated in white icing. He is holding the knife ready to cut the cake.]



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