November 2022 – This chapter, which describes what is meant by co-production and how it can when making decisions and designing services, was added to the procedures site.
Adults who use care and support services, and those of partner agencies, are at the centre of the personalisation agenda and the Care Act 2014. Feedback from adults and carers about their service experience and outcomes – that were either achieved or not achieved – are vital to providing effective and appropriate services.
Co-production is a way of working whereby everybody – adults who use services, carers and staff – works together on an equal basis to create a service or come to a decision which works for them all.
However, the definition of co-production does change in different settings (see What is Co-production? TLAP).
The Care Act states:
Co-production is when you as an individual influence the support and services you receive, or when groups of people get together to influence the way that services are designed, commissioned and delivered.
The TLAP National Co-production Advisory Group says:
Co-production is not just a word, it is not just a concept, it is a meeting of minds coming together to find shared solutions. In practice, co-production involves people who use services being consulted, included and working together from the start to the end of any project that affects them. When co-production works best, people who use services and carers are valued by organisations as equal partners, can share power and have influence over decisions made.
The New Economics Foundation notes six main aspects of co-production:
Recognising people as assets: People are seen as equal partners in designing and delivering services, rather than as passive beneficiaries or burdens on the system.
Building on people’s capabilities:Everyone recognizes that each person has abilities and people are supported to develop these. People are supported to use what they are able to do to benefit their community themselves and other people.
Developing two-way reciprocal relationships: All co-production involves some mutuality, both between individuals, carers and public service professionals and between the individuals who are involved.
Encouraging peer support networks: Peer and personal networks are often not valued enough and not supported. Co-production builds these networks alongside support from professionals.
Blurring boundaries between delivering and receiving services:The usual line between those people who design and deliver services and those who use them is blurred with more people involved in getting things done.
Facilitating not delivering to:Public sector organisations (like the government, local councils and health authorities) enable things to happen, rather than provide services themselves. An example of this is when a council supports people who use services to develop a peer support network.
3. Involving Adults who use Services
Adults who use services should be involved at each level of development, delivery, and review of care and support services in order to:
- ensure that services are developed to meet the care and support needs of adults;
- ensure that the services which are provided are of good quality;
- ensure positive outcomes for those who use the service.
Service commissioners should ensure that adults who use services can:
- have their views considered in the development of new strategies and services;
- contribute to the review and performance management of existing strategies and services;
- receive information on planning and delivering of new services in an accessible and jargon-free format;
- contribute to meetings and decision making where practicable. This may include practical support (for example, reimbursement of expenses; considering the time and venue for meetings) and other assistance (for example help to deal with jargon – see TLAP Care and Support Jargon Buster, stress, power imbalances);
- access appropriate training and mentoring support to enable them to contribute to planning arenas.
Social workers and service providers should ensure adults:
- have easy access to a charter on their rights and responsibilities within the service;
- have easy access to clear information on all the services available (see Information and Advice chapter);
- have access to information on their care and support options (see Care and Support Planning chapter);
- are fully involved in the assessment process and development and review of their individual care plan and have their needs, wishes and goals incorporated into their plan;
- receive information on how to make comments, complaints and compliments about the service they receive;
- contribute to the evaluation of the service.
User led organisations (ULOs) are one approach to facilitating user involvement as referenced in the Care and Support Statutory Guidance. ULOs are organisations that are run by and controlled by people who use care and support services, including disabled people of any impairment, older people, and families and carers. See also A Commissioner’s Guide to Developing and Sustaining Local User-Led Organisations (SCIE).