It was great to be at the launch of SCIE’s excellent new resources on coproduction today. The resources are here and well worth a look through (including two great videos in Have I Got News For You style – 1, 2).
Here are 5 thoughts/reflections from the day and wider conversations on Twitter.
1. Quite a lot of people get hung up on the definition of coproduction. I find this takes up valuable time that could be used figuring out how coproduction can be a very effective means by which we change public services and the role real people play in this. It may be easier to agree on what coproduction isn’t (clue: two public sector professionals from different organisations meeting together isn’t coproduction)
2. The following question was posed by none other than Lord Michael Bichard (see point 3): What do we need to do to get those people/organisations who don’t get coproduction to see its value and use it? Of all the things that can be done, I think the best is to equip real people with (a) the drive/expectation that they can be part of the way in which public services are designed and delivered; and (b) the evidence that coproduction works with which to convince intransigent others. Creating this demand won’t be sufficient, but it is absolutely necessary.
3. Both SCIE’s Chair (Lord Michael Bichard) and Chief Executive (Tony Hunter – who hasn’t even officially started yet) were there today – a fine indication of both SCIE’s commitment to coproduction and the importance of coproduction more generally.
4. It was noted there wasn’t a session dedicated to coproduction at NCASC (notwithstanding the excellent way TLAP presented their work). There should have been.
5. Coproduction has come a long way, but we all have to work together to ensure it goes much, much further. There is great evidence and practice that coproduction works and is a means by which the immense challenges facing public services – not just in social care and health, but all services – can be collectively approached and solved (see, for example, the excellent Coproduction Practitioners Network for lots of case studies etc.).
As a final thought, I hope you won’t mind me paraphrasing Bill Shankly. Some people believe coproduction is a matter of life and death. I can assure you it’s much, much more important than that.