Lorraine: In my introductory blog (was it only four short weeks ago?) I said that we aim:
‘to widen the [coproduction] debate and to reach out to people and groups who may not yet be involved.’
In this blog I thought I’d unpack that a little more and consider where coproduction is happening, where it might not be, who is involved and who might not be, and ask how might things change if we address these matters more proactively.
The Coproduction Group of the Coalition for Collaborative Care (Co4CC) – under whose banner we began this blog – has a specific remit to work within the realms of health and social care on long term conditions and is already doing some sterling work. However, in that respect it can be instructive to our plans to ask if specific population groups and minorities are being included, or not, and how. It can also be valuable to look at other sectors or areas and ask if coproduction is being employed, for surely important lessons can be learnt and principles shared?
For example, how far is coproduction employed in the field of education, or in transport? At first glance these topics may seem to be rather removed from health and social care matters, but let’s look a little deeper for the links. My enquiries about education led me to interesting discussions with a future guest blogger who until recently chaired the Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) including the complementary/contradictory roles of students/learners and parents/carers. Lessons here perhaps about how to handle the dynamics of relationships? Transport is one of the ‘Seven Needs for Independent Living‘ one of the cornerstones of the disabled people’s movement, and is surely closely linked to matters of health and social care – a volunteer guest blogger here would be very welcome!
Are there groups of people who are not yet much included in our coproduction plans and activities? Another future guest blogger has pointed me in the direction of a group of (D)deaf LGBTQ people, whose views would surely enrich both our discussions and our practices? And how effective, I wonder, are we at including people from BME groups? There are language and cultural characteristics which make this a challenge, to be sure, but in all the examples mentioned here I am reminded of a long-gone colleague who once said:
‘It’s not that some people are hard to reach, they’re just easier to ignore.’
In one response to a previous posting of this blog on Facebook someone enquired about making the blog available in audio format, and this begs the question for me about how do we reach out to marginalised/excluded groups? How do we inform and educate our partners in Co4CC about coproduction and best practice? Indeed, what is best practice? And this leads me neatly back to one of the purposes of this blog – to identify and illustrate best practice. Please let us know if you feel you’re delivering best practice, or you know someone who is, or if you feel you have lessons to share. The rate at which these blogs already get shared is encouraging: now we’re looking for more comments and contributions – the good, the bad, and the ‘not so pretty’ – to help us get to that ‘best practice’.