Co-production Week 2017

Co-production Week 2017

Monday, 10 July 2017

Co-production: Walsingham Support

By Dominique Richards, Personalisation Officer at Walsingham Support @walsinghamuk

"Co-production isn’t new – it’s something that organisations, including ourselves, have been practising for a while."

Our Values
Putting people at the heart of everything we do was one of our founding principles. Ensuring the people we support have a voice and the opportunity to shape the support they receive has been central to our ethos from day one.

The Way Forwards
At its core, co-production recognises that everyone, regardless of ability, has unique skills, knowledge and experiences that when pooled together will deliver more effective outcomes.
Co-production doesn’t just benefit those who receive support, it benefits everyone involved.

The Real Difference
Co-production isn’t new – it’s something that organisations, including ourselves, have been practising for a while.

Our personalisation standards and personalisation audit were co-produced with people we support back in 2015 as well as our professional boundaries policy. The policy itself was conceived and led by people we support who consulted staff members and professionals as opposed to the other way around, unique in our sector.

The next step for the social care sector, collectively, is to ensure that co-production is integrated across all policies, practices and processes as standard.

Our Next Steps
To ensure that we continue to push our work around co-production and as part of our commitment to Social Care for Excellence’s Co-production Week (3rd-7th July), we are creating a brand-new co-production working group.

The group will consist of people we support, family members, staff members, professionals and independent advocates and will be officially launched at a one day co-production conference. Led by an independent facilitator, it will ensure each voice is heard and given equal waiting, with each attendee having a decisive role to play in the group.

This conference is just the start as we move away from ‘involvement’, where people we support are just consulted, and head towards a process where the people we support are fully intergrated from start to finish. 

We want a society where people with disabilities have full control over their lives, where their voices are not only listened to, but heard.

*If you would like any more information about co-production and what we are doing to embed it, please contact Dominique Richards, Personalisation Officer

Co-production, co-production, co-production

By Gerry Nosowska, Director, Effective Practice

Co-production Week gives me the opportunity to reflect on what co-production means to me and how I can embrace it.

I am far from an expert on co-production. Although my social work training and practice has always emphasised working with people as equals, I am a long way from true co-production. I like to manage situations, I have blind spots about power, and I have habits for how I do thinks which significantly get in the way.

So this blog is not about how to do co-production but instead what I have learned from my small steps about why to do it.

1. It feels right: On the few occasions when I have taken a co-production approach - sitting down with a blank piece of paper and starting with ‘what do we think we should do?’ - it has felt much better than turning up with a plan, a form or an agenda.
2. It teaches me about myself: The times when I have co-produced work, I have been called out on many assumptions I make about who is ‘professional’ and who can do what. It is uncomfortable but I need to hear it.

3. It results in better work: The co-produced projects I have been involved in have all been so much better than anything I or social workers alone could do. The Role of the social worker in end of life, palliative and bereavement care contains stories and language I have no experience of. The Carers website contains case examples and tips for practice that speak straight to me. The Position statement and charter for disabled adults and social workers contains actions that I had not considered.

So for these three reasons, I will keep going with co-production. I have written a commitment for this week. And please, if you are thinking about co-production, do it; if you are doing it, keep going; and if you know how to do it, help us beginners.

Evolve: co-producing how we work with our customers.

By Pia Hansen, Special Projects Manager, Evolve Housing and Support

We are about to launch our new approach to support this summer. Last year we worked with staff and customers to review how the existing approach was going. Customers were happy with the support they receive and at the same time some areas for improvement were identified. Customers wanted a focus on what is strong and positive about them and on their relationship with the wider community, which led naturally into focusing on a more asset-based approach to working.

A working group of staff and customers was set up in late October to jointly create this new approach to support. As a group, we designed the new approach and the paper work, made sure staff and customers could review and feedback at every stage and eventually agreed on what it would look like. The new approach, which focuses on a customer’s wellbeing, their satisfaction with where they live, their community connections and their aspirations, is proving to have a positive effect after the initial pilot. One customer said about his experience of the new support plan: “I have really enjoyed being able to take the time to complete this and I feel like it is mine and something I can work towards. I have liked looking at my strengths…’ .

Customers and staff worked together to review the feedback from the pilot and to make any necessary changes. They also worked together to develop training for staff on how to work with the new approach which is in the process of being delivered. Over 60 staff and customers have been involved in this process with over half of these being our customers. The design, decisions and training work around the new approach have been done in partnership with our customers, and has resulted in a great new way of working for the organisation.

One of our managers said: “Co-production allowed us to test ideas and bring current lived experience to the planning process. This is essential for any new support approach and invaluable to the ethics of design.  By focusing on co-production, we have been able to get all parties to take ownership in its design and delivery and develop it into something that works for all and not something that is just implanted on our clients.”

None of us is smarter than all of us! The hidden meaning of co-production

Clenton Farquharson and Nic Crosby. Clenton Farquharson MBE is chair of the Think Personal Act Local Board. Nic Crosby is Director at Both are happy to continue this discussion should you be interested.

We are all people, people with lived experience, experts by experience; we may need support all our life or we’ve all looked after a family member who does, we’ve worried about how they are getting on in hospital, whether people are looking after them properly, many of us have experienced mental health challenges and most if not all know someone close who has…the list goes on.

Real co-production is about building mutually trusting and respectful relationships, where we each listen and value each other contributions, discuss, often disagree, and may be even argue.  We are all people with lived experience and we are, when it comes to taking forward the improvement of support for people, actually working to make the world a better place for ourselves and our own families, relations, friends and local communities.

Yet, there is this great divide between those of us being supported and those of us doing the supporting, where those of us being supported report that although there is a much headlined approach of ‘nothing about us without us’ our experiences are nothing like this.  We, who are doing the supporting seem to forget that we are just the same as those we are supporting, we forget that it might be us or a close family member needing support; we, who are doing the support start to believe that we know best, we start not to listen to what those of us who need support are saying and we start to use complicated and exclusive language which means others can’t understand, can’t take part.

And so, we have this thing called ‘co-production’, a bit of jargon yes but vitally important and essential.  We have to have ‘co-production’, guides to co-production, commitments to co-production and blogs like this one because the relationships between those of us being supported and those of us doing the supporting have to change and have to set ‘nothing about us without us’ not as an aspiration but as the foundation for everyday work and support.

For us both one of the clearest markers about a commitment to real co-production is the language being used. Not just when horse riding becomes ‘equine therapy’ or bouncing on a trampoline ‘rebound therapy’, but in publications, at conferences and in all our work to improve services.  All the energy being put into ‘coproduction’ as part of the work to improve services and support means nothing if the language used is difficult to understand and excludes the very people whose expertise and views should be at the centre.

The more complicated and exclusive the language we use the clearer it is that our commitment to co-production is paper thin and very much tokenistic.  So we, like others are keen to champion a ‘speakeasy[1]’ approach to all that we do, using language that is as inclusive as possible, as easy to understand for the whole community and to challenge language that works against inclusion and taking part.

Using straight-forward language, avoiding jargon and thinking about the words we use is only part of co-production, yet it says so much about how genuinely committed we are. Co-production comes from building trust, trust is a bit like love, both parties have to feel it.  Despite investment, energy and much activity it feels like this two-way trust is not reality for most of us and is a long way off.

So, that favourite ‘3 top tips’ bit:

1.     Make ‘nothing about us without us’ a reality; in your own work and the work of your organisation, involve people who will know best and remember that you are also improving support and care for members of your family and maybe yourself.
2.     Make a personal commitment to ‘speakeasy’.  And, like the both of us, know that in making that you should expect to be challenged about the words and language you use, this is the only way we are going to get better.
3.     If you can make a commitment for your organisation to always ‘speakeasy’.  Discussions, workshops, and meetings should be inclusive and welcoming for anyone and everyone who needs to be there.

[1] Speakeasy is not trademarked or copyrighted.  You are welcome to make a similar commitment and to publicise it, however like us it means you are going to have to get used to being challenged until you get it right!

Co-production in Action in Hampshire

By Robert Droy, Chair of Hampshire Personalisation Expert Panel at SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living. 


For me personally, this year will mark 20 years of working on coproduction. Back in 1997, it wasn't actually called coproduction, it was often called user involvement, but the aims and objectives were the same; how to get statutory services to involve people in designing, delivering and evaluating services in a meaningful way rather than just a tokenistic way.

Fresh from graduating university, I had seen first hand the discrimination that many Disabled People face when trying to find employment. Despite the government's ‘two tick’ system, statutory services seemed reluctant to employ Disabled People, let alone give them genuine chance to influence the development of services.

When I finally got a job in the user led movement, I met many of my peers wanted the same things I wanted. I also started to meet staff within the local authority who could see the value that service users could add when developing services. Over the next decade, in Hampshire at least, we were lucky enough to work with the local authority on a number of exciting projects, particularly around Independent Living and empowering Disabled People to have more choice and control over their lives. This resulted in the formation of the Personalisation Expert Panel, a group of service users and carers who work with senior managers in a coproductive relationship on social care reform. I have chaired the PEP for the past 9 years.

Despite the worsening financial situation, in Hampshire we have continued to work closely with the local authority and now with the Clinical Commissioning Groups to ensure that service users’ voices are not only heard but that we are around the table with senior managers when key decisions are being made.

Last Friday, 40 service users, carers and senior managers formed a Transformation Coproduction Board to specifically look at the Transformation plans that are being made for the next 2 years. Senior managers will not only report on what their plans are but also will need to specify where coproduction has or will take place and what effect it has had.

The Board will not replace the existing coproduction groups in Hampshire such as the PEP but will ensure meaningful coproduction remains a priority over the next 2 years and beyond. This is an great example of coproduction in action and how things develop over time. SCIE’s Coproduction Week is an excellent opportunity for all of us to share and learn from others’ examples.

Taking coproduction seriously in Adult Social Care across the East through “Count Me In”

Natasha Burberry, Sector Led Improvement Programme Manager, East of England Adult Social Care

Adult Social Care across the East has held a serious of three workshops during 2016/17 with people who use services, carers, providers and commissioners to create a shared understanding about how people and families can work together to improve local markets.
Here is what Simon Leftley, the East Regional Lead Director for this programme said: 

"We have been committed for some time to empower and involve users of services and their carer’s in the design, commissioning and evaluation of services. this work is extremely timely with emphasis on meaningful coproduction in transforming care partnerships and other national programmes. this is a fantastic opportunity to develop our thinking and relationships within the region to make this a reality."
Together, we co-designed a logo to support the work. We shared current practice. We co-produced a pledge along with a printable/easy read toolkit to ensure that we have a co-designed agreement of “what good looks like” and a tool that can actively monitor progress against that.

Pledge (pdf document)  >>>
Toolkit (pdf document) >>>

We are due to hold another event in September to bring people back together to share progress with the pledge/toolkit, discuss the remaining challenges and plan another phase of improvement support to ensure we live up to our pledge.

Here are some early examples of how we have used the pledge and toolkit to inform our work. We hope to report on outcomes and how the work is making a difference after the September event...

"Thurrock are working with their communities’ team to use the toolkit. They have an away day for their community hubs and will be asking teams to collect feedback against the pledge."
"Essex have done some good work on coproduction/ collaboration. Essex has commissioned Health watch to do a thinking piece on what is working/ not in Essex and for them to make some recommendations. The toolkit and pledge will be used to inform this work."
"Norfolk have used the pledge to start discussions with their ‘Making it real Group’ and Commissioners about what works well and what we need to improve. This has generated some great examples of good practice and some areas where we need to develop skills and expertise."
"Southend Borough Council in partnership with the University of Essex undertook a Community Study day in May. Part of the social work degree course involved 1st year students spending 5 days in Southend walking the streets, talking with residents and visiting groups and projects to map local assets and understand the strengths of the community."
"Hertfordshire has re-tendered community dementia services using the principles of coproduction and social value to create a sustainable, community owned service. This involved engaging GP services, memory clinics, providers, CCGs and national experts to understand the gaps and opportunities."
The programme has been supported by Simon Leftley, Eastern Regional Director Lead for Transforming Care & Deputy Chief Executive for Southend Borough Council.

For further details, please contact Natasha Burberry, Sector Led Improvement Programme Manager - 

Working Together in Warwickshire’s SEND Programme

By Laura Musgrave, Co-production Officer, Warwickshire County Council

I work for Warwickshire's Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) programme. The programme brings people together to work on improving SEND services for ages 0 - 25 across the county. It was created in 2014 to make sure the national SEND reforms were put into action in Warwickshire.

The SEND Programme includes people from Education, Health and Social Care, service providers, children, young people, parents and carers. It brings together families’ skills and lived experience with professionals’ skills and experience. This valuable partnership means that professionals can better understand families’ experiences with services.

Co-production in the SEND Programme happens at different levels. Here are just a few examples:

Individual: a child or young person with an Education, Health and Care plan will work with professionals to develop their plan

Strategic: Warwickshire Parent Carer Forum reps sit on the SEND working groups, project groups and the SEND Programme Board, where decisions are made. Children and young people work with the groups and SEND Board through the Warwickshire Working Together Network (WWTN).

The WWTN was developed through work with local children and young people over about a year. The network approach means we’re able to meet people wherever they are (online and/or in person), which makes it easier for us to work together. That work happens in a space young people are already comfortable in, where they’re developing friendships and skills.

In a recent project group, p
arents and nurseries worked together to create a new 0 – 5 SEND quality award. This award shows that early years schools and childminders welcome children with SEND. Other projects have included parents working on Education, Health and Care Plan surveys, post-16 plans, and looking at increasing specialist school places in Warwickshire.

We also have the SEND Voice newsletter, which I’m proud to oversee with my co-editor, Jo Eburne, from Warwickshire Parent Carer Forum. SEND Voice shares information and news from different people involved in the SEND Programme. It goes out across Warwickshire in print and online. You can see our past newsletters on the What We’ve Done page of Warwickshire’s SEND Local Offer website.

We now have a growing email list for SEND news updates and stories, plus Facebook and Twitter pages. These tools help us share what we’ve done together, and open conversations with new people who might be interested in working together too.

You can see our SEND Local Offer website at
And if you’re on Twitter or Facebook, please follow us at:
Twitter      @WarksCoPro

Facebook   @WarksCoPro