We think that services must be designed in close collaboration with the people that are going to use them. And by close collaboration we don’t mean distant, top-down consultation driven by the usual suspects. Most, if not all of us have been on the receiving end of or been responsible for processes designed just to tick the consultation box and that’s far from satisfactory or acceptable.
We have to play a different game. One far removed from the game of cat and mouse we’re accustomed to and inhabit a space that allows to work as equals, respectful of difference but free of the abuse of power that prevents genuine co-operation.
Co-production as an approach to service design that brings people together is already delivering improved value for money and better outcomes for communities. We’re intent on continuing to develop this approach as members of the co-production network hosted by NEF who offer this definition and core principles of co-production
“Co-production means delivering public services in an equal and reciprocal relationship between professionals, people using services, their families and their neighbours. Where activities are co-produced in this way, both services and neighbourhoods become far more effective agents of change.”
the principles of co-production
- Building on people’s existing capabilities: altering the delivery model of public services from a deficit approach to one that provides opportunities to recognise and grow people’s capabilities and actively support them to put them to use at an individual and community level.
- Reciprocity and mutuality: offering people a range of incentives to engage which enable us to work in reciprocal relationships with professionals and with each other, where there are mutual responsibilities and expectations.
- Peer support networks: engaging peer and personal networks alongside professionals as the best way of transferring knowledge.
- Blurring distinctions: removing the distinction between professionals and recipients, and between producers and consumers of services, by reconfiguring the way services are developed and delivered.
- Facilitating rather than delivering: enabling public service agencies to become catalysts and facilitators rather than central providers themselves.
- Assets: transforming the perception of people from passive recipients of services and burdens on the system into one where they are equal partners in designing and delivering services