Why is co-production important?

In the past people who need support often have been seen as inactive and on the ‘receiving end’ of the support being provided for them by someone who is seen as more capable than they are.

What is co-production?

Co-production is a different way of thinking about how people get support. It means:

  • People work together equally and share the power to make decisions.
  • Seeing the person and not their ‘problem’
  • Avoiding words like ‘staff’ and ‘service users’
  • People being involved in how things run and not just being on the ‘receiving end’

When support is co-produced, people are real decision makers about the support they have and they are relly involved in how their support is put in place, who provides it, when it happens, why it happens, the risks that are taken and importantly when support should stop.

If we are going to work in co-produced ways that means we need to be ready to change policy, how we spend money and resources, how much time we spend thinking and talking about decisions and whose views we really take into account and make part of future plans.

bemix tries very hard to do co-produce all its work as much as possible. For us this means sharing the decision making with people who are often left out: people with a learning difficulty or people with mental ill health. But it could be anyone in the local community: younger or older people, carers and supporters, people looking for a job, lone parents – anyone who wants to get involved in what we are doing and shares our belief that everyone has the right to be treated fairly and with respect.

Co-producing often costs more money when you first start doing it. It saves money in the long run as decisions tend to be better and not need changing later.

Co-producing takes more time, especially in the beginning. The more you do it the quicker you get and you won’t notice it taking longer.

Co-producing means we have to be patient with each other. It gets results and things are better and fairer if we work this way. Our work becomes more sustainable because we are sharing the load. When it is done well everyone wants to join in and that makes life a lot more exciting.

As you look around our website you will find lots of examples of things we do that are co-produced, where people are considered to be an asset and not a burden or a problem to be solved. We are one among many organisations working in a co-produced way. Below is a list of websites you can view to find out how others co-produce.

We believe that a fair society needs co-production at its heart.

Useful links

Social Care Institute for Excellence

New Economics Foundation

Citizen Network

Learning Disability England