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Co-production: theory and practice

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New Economics Foundation

on 29 September 2014

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Transcript of Co-production: theory and practice

Defining Co-production
NEF defines co-production as...

"delivering public services in an equal and reciprocal relationship between professionals, people using services, their families and their neighbours" (nef and Nesta, 2010)

Co-production is not...
The six principles of co-production
New Economics Foundation (2014)
Co-producing Well-being: why it matters and how to do it
What is well-being?
The public service matrix
Who plans/designs?
Other definitions
‘Co-production is a relationship where professionals and citizens share power to plan and deliver support together, recognising that both sides have vital contributions to make in order to improve quality of life for people and communities’ (national co-production critical friends group definition, 2013)

In Elinor Ostrom's* words
Co-production is ‘the process by which inputs used to produce a good or service are contributed by individuals who are not ‘in’ the same organisation’
Recognize people as assets
Build on people's capabilities
Develop two-way, reciprocal, relationships
Recognizing people as assets
Encourage Peer Support
Blurring distinctions
Facilitating, not delivering
User involvement
Civil Society provision
Engagement and Consultation
Personal budgets
Descriptive co-production
When co-production is used simply as a description of how all services already rely on some productive input from users
Intermediate co-production
When co-production offers a way to acknowledge and support the contributions of service stakeholders, although without necessarily changing
fundamental delivery systems
Transformative co-production
When co-production involves a relocation of power and control, creating new cultures and structures and embedding mutual trust and reciprocity within the organisation
A ladder of co-production
Doing 'to'
The first rungs of the ladder show services that are not intended to benefit the recipients, but educate or cure them. Recipients are not invited to participate in the design or delivery of the service; their role is limited to being a fairly passive recipient of services and professionals hold all the power, and make all the decisions, within the service.
Doing 'for'
Services are often designed by professionals with the recipient’s best interests in mind, but people’s involvement in the design and delivery of the services is constrained. Professionals might, for example, inform people that a change will be made to how a service is to be run, or they may even consult or engage them to see what they think about these changes. This, however, is as far as it goes.
Doing 'with'
The most advanced stages of the pathway represent a much deeper level of service user involvement, which shifts power towards people. These require a fundamental change in how service workers and professionals work with service users, recognising that positive outcomes cannot be delivered effectively to or for people. They can best be achieved with people, through equal and reciprocal relationships. This means that people’s voices must be heard, valued, debated, and then – most importantly – acted upon.
Stories of co-production
FAST is an assets based programme that brings schools, parents and children together to strengthen relationships, develop peer support between parents and improve the life chances of children

It is an 8 week after-school programme; parents and children work together in sessions facilitated by school staff and volunteers to improve parenting, communication between parents and children, child behaviour and the relationship between schools, parents and children

After the 8 week sessions parents are encouraged to form peer support groups to continue their learning and foster mutual support networks.

Reciprocity: there are explicit expectations set of people’s contributions and everyone is encouraged to support each other through a peer led approach during the programme, and through volunteering once they have ‘graduated’ from the programme

Assets are central and roles are blurred: both peer and professional expertise is combined in the weekly sessions and local community buildings such as schools are used to host the programme.

The programme explicitly builds up the skills – such as parenting, negotiating and communication skills – of the participants through experiential learning techniques, peer support and coaching.

Why is this Co-production?
Learning to Lead
Learning to Lead is a different approach to school councils, creating a school forum that is shaped and run by students, with the help of teachers. The approach pivots around a model of student led groups, a school council, and school community council development plans. The groups are organic – developed by students. They feed into a council, which then produces a student’s school plan. These enable students to identify what they are interested in, and supports them to take action on whatever that may be. Students can invite a teacher to one of their meetings, in order to draw on their particular knowledge and skills, but students are trusted to plan and manage their activities

Why is this co-production?
Assets: starts with what young people are interested in and want to do, within their school and their local area.
The approach builds on young people’s capabilities, encouraging them to learn through doing, develop new skills and experiment without the fear of getting things wrong.
The approach develops peer networks beyond year group and school boundaries: young people might be involved, for example, in projects with local community groups.

Washington Youth Time Court
In 2004 over half the young black males in Washington DC between the ages of 18 and 24 were under court jurisdiction, in prison, on parole, or on probation.

The traditional youth criminal justice system was failing. Young men who entered the system rarely came out of it again and recidivism rates were very high.

The TDYC offered a radical alternative to the traditional system based on peer support and restorative community engagement.

Young people are tried by a jury of their peers – other young people – who cross-examine, deliberate and judge young offenders.

Why is this co-production?
Young people are seen as assets; young offenders join the jury after they have appeared before the jury. Their experiences help improve the questions asked by juries.

There is a strong element of Peer Support; young people are there to help other young people out

Professionals roles are blurred between young people and adults and young people are seen as capable of taking on roles of responsibility

Through the time bank system young offenders are encouraged to give back to the community

Recognising people as 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. Professionals work with people's 'expertise by experience'
Building on people's capabilities
Altering the delivery model of public services from a deficit approach to one that recognises and grows people’s capabilities and actively supports them to put them to use at an individual and community level. Everyone has something to give, co-production is about recognising and nurturing all our talents
Developing two way relationships
Offering people a range of ways in which they can contribute to the running of a project, enabling them to work in reciprocal relationships with professionals and with each other, where there are mutual responsibilities and expectations.
Encourage peer support
Engaging peer and personal networks and support, alongside professional support, as the best way of transferring knowledge and building people's confidence and capabilities.
Blurring distinctions
Removing tightly defined boundaries between professionals and recipients, and between producers and consumers of services, by reconfiguring the ways in which services are developed and delivered.
Facilitating, not delivering to
Recognising that outcomes cannot be delivered to, or for, people, but are achieved with them. This changes the culture of providing organisations. Their main goal is to enable people to articulate and realise their own personal goals.
Engagement and consultation can be useful methods to employ, but they are distinct from co-production. Power is kept in the hands of professionals, and people have fewer opportunities to be involved in designing and delivering services.
Making sure that people are ‘heard’ usually means that services are still being delivered in the same way, and have the same structures governing them. It might be a step towards co-production, but on its own it fails to change the existing approach.
The third sector is where co-production is most common, but being a voluntary or community based organisation does not automatically mean that providers are co-producing.
Many examples of co-production would involve people working in a voluntary capacity, but not every volunteering scheme is coproduction. Volunteering roles might be tightly defined, with few opportunities to influence the wider service.
A personal budget is a financial package, but doesn’t necessarily mean that all (or any) of the principles of co-production are in place.
*2009 Nobel prize winner for economics
Who delivers?
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