Welcome to the first blog in what we, Lorraine and Helen, hope will be an interesting and inclusive series of discussions about what co-production is in practice. In our various ways we are, and have been, both immersed in co-production for many years and wanted to find a way to explore the concept and practice with other people. We asked ourselves, for example, if there is a common understanding of what co-production is, what makes for good co-production, and how can it work for everyone?
And so we decided to open up the discussion with a combination of our own blogs – this being the first – and those from guest bloggers, from a wide range of perspectives, and to ‘spread the word’ and invite people to contribute through social media.
You could be forgiven for thinking that co-production is a bit of a buzz-word at the moment, a bit ‘flavour of the month’, especially if you’re a bit removed from it. Our aim in organising this blog is have a means to explore and develop the concept further, in a sort of co-produced way. This means we’ll be inviting guest bloggers and welcoming comments and feedback. No-one thinks co-production is perfect, and it certainly has its critics: we hope they will contribute and help the thinking around co-production to be grounded in both theory and reality.
So, just what is co-production? In one sense it almost depends who you ask: the Coalition for Collaborative Care says
“Put simply, this means ensuring that people with long term health conditions, health and social care professionals, carers and charities work alongside one another to co-design services and support.”
Whilst Think Local Act Personal says:
“The term co-production refers to a way of working, whereby everybody works together on an equal basis to create a service or come to a decision which works for them all. It is built on the principle that those who use a service are best placed to help design it.”
Whilst the NHS said in 2010:
“Co-production is one of four elements which define successful change. The additional elements are defined as subsidiarity, leadership and system alignment. It is clear that engagement of people who use services, carers, families and citizens needs to be a core element of all four change principles for genuine and sustainable change to be achieved . . . . . The new challenge for people involved in co-production is to build on the clear mandate provided by the government to create a whole systems change in the way that support is designed, planned, commissioned and delivered so that a greater proportion of decision-making processes are led by people who use services, carers and communities.”
The Coalition for Collaborative Care is a major new alliance aiming to transform the way care is delivered to or accessed by people with long term conditions so that they and professionals can work together to improve outcomes, and to achieve this they promote co-production. This blog aims to contribute to that process, to widen the debate and to reach out to people and groups who may not yet be involved. We’ll be very pleased if you share this blog, contribute your ideas, and join in the debate.
We have a range of guest bloggers to introduce you to, people from the National Coproduction Advisory Groups from both TLAP and the Coalition for Collaborative Care, leaders and activists, and people trying to put coproduction into practice to achieve change, like Ian McCreath from the Alzheimer’s Society exploring what this means for people living with dementia.
Please join us in both talking about, and putting into practice, Co-production for Change.