Co-production – Friend or Foe?

Written by: Viv Grafton, Strategic Planning Commissioning Manager, Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership

Published: 23/11/2018

Viv Grafton describes her experience of the Co-Production Star Training Programme facilitated by the ALLIANCE and Governance International.

The word co-production is used regularly in conversations across health and social care in Dumfries and Galloway and in my experience generates a range of different reactions from people. I’ve seen people roll their eyes (in frustration?) “here is another buzz word or management term, ” others grimace (in confusion?) “what is it all about?” Some people shrug and are concerned that this will simply slow down progress and we shouldn’t have to bother, “we just need to get on with change” they say. For some people, myself included, there is a hope that this approach will genuinely make a difference to how we plan and deliver health and social care in the future.

So, what is co-production? Are we doing it? And, does it work?

Co-production is when people with different interests come together as a group to:

  • Co-design
  • Co-deliver
  • Co-commission and
  • Co-evaluate

In health and social care, this means the people who use services, professionals, Carers, volunteers, providers and other stakeholders working together to consider how health and social care and support look and are delivered in the future.

Traditionally health and social care services have been designed and delivered by professionals working in partnership within the statutory, third and independent sectors.  With co-production the crucial difference is people in communities that receive care and support are involved in all aspects of their design and delivery.

We should already be consulting and engaging widely on any kind of service change. Co-production takes us to the next level of engagement. It’s crucially about doing with and not to people. It’s about recognising that people who use services and their communities know things that we, as professionals, don’t know.

Working in a co-productive way

  • can make a service more efficient and effective
  • can change peoples behaviours in how they use or deliver services
  • can place an emphasis on delivery of outcomes rather than just inputs and activity

100 days of co-production

In the USA there is a real emphasis on what Presidents can achieve in their first 100 days in office. It is amazing what can be achieved in a short period of time. For example, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency began on March 4, 1933. During his first 100 days, a series of initiatives were developed that went on to successfully counter the effects of the Great Depression.

Perhaps a bit ambitious to think that we can counter all the challenges facing health and social care in Dumfries and Galloway in the same time period, however, using the 100 days to focus our efforts will be useful.

The topics for the labs have been identified by communities across Dumfries and Galloway. It is anticipated that a focus on these particular areas of care and support will bring some benefit to design and delivery of health and social care. They will also give us the opportunity to test out our co-production skills to understand what does and doesn’t work for us.

This is an exciting time with an opportunity to try a different approach.

For more information about the Dumfries and Galloway 100 days co-production labs contact Viv Gration on v.gration@nhs.net

For more information about co-production, including a range of case examples visit www.govint.org (This link will take you away from our website)

For more information on Scotland’s co-production week visit www.coproductionscotland.org.uk/coproweekscot (This link will take you away from our website)

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