Co-production Week 2019

Co-production Week 2019

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Co-production in the workplace at SCIE

By Nimal Jude, Practice Development Manager, the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) 

I have been with SCIE since June 2019. 

I have a long relationship with SCIE, mainly through creating and developing new government initiatives and post qualifying teaching and training. The resources are so valuable and the breadth and depth is incredible.

The first thing I noticed when I started was the diversity of the team, not just in race and gender and sexuality but also life experience.

Working at SCIE has enabled me to feel comfortable in starting to share my life experience. The culture makes me feel that ALL my experience is valid – including my adolescent shenanigans and serious harm I encountered.

SCIE is a place where people at senior level have shared their own experiences in open forums thereby modelling strength in vulnerability. Of course, it’s always the individual choice about what they do or don’t want to talk about.  There is kindness, compassion and respect at SCIE. This creates a safe and empowering environment for people to speak about experiences. Of course, every organisation has its own challenges but a solid foundation like this makes for a resilient and supportive team.

Many of us have accessed services for a variety of reasons including having children with learning / physical disabilities, their own or their family members mental illness, reablement, palliative care and many other reasons. 

I have worked in places and overheard how some professionals whisper – ‘you know he/she been (insert whatever, in care, abused, exploited) by way of explaining why a colleague may be expressing strong emotions about a situation they are observing.

How can anyone feel safe in that kind of environment and hold up their hand and say: Me too?

The law of average might suggest there are many people in organisations with rich experience and insight. Maybe you just don’t know it, the culture may not allow people to feel safe and know they won’t be negatively judged or labelled.

How can we create organisational culture where all experience is valid and relevant?

Supervisory relationships and the art of effective supervision is such a vital tool for this area which is why I have spent so much of my career helping people to develop and enhance supervision.

It is essential that we co-produce at all levels with citizens and current experts by experience but don’t dismiss the experience within our own organisation and consider both the professional and the personal angle in everything we do.

See our Learning organisations: A self-assessment resource pack

This resources poses some questions that can be used to generate strategic and team based discussion and develop effective polices and strategies.

Intergenerational linking between care home residents and young people

By Amy Simpkins, Communications Officer at My Home Life England

In support of co-production week, we at My Home Life England wanted to share our new social action initiative Care Home Friends and Neighbours: Intergenerational Linking Project that has co-production and collaboration at the heart. The project is promoting young people’s engagement with care homes for older people across England, in particular those young people aged 5-14 years from less advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.

We’re excited to have partnered with The Linking Network on the project, who currently deliver an extensive Schools Linking programme in Bradford and 28 other local authorities which supports schools to link together and learn about identity, diversity, community and equality.

The project is jointly funded by The Dunhill Medical Trust and the #iwill Fund, from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. The #iwill fund supports the #iwill campaign, which aims to make involvement in social action a part of life for young people by recognising the benefit for both young people and their communities.

The project
These new intergenerational initiatives will be co-created by younger and older people and it’s hoped will demonstrate the many benefits of intergenerational friendship, including reduced isolation in older people, which has become more prevalent in light of COVID-19, and boosting young people’s confidence and leadership skills.

We’ve just announced our first two project areas and funded organisations – Alive in Bristol and The Linking Network in Bradford.

Alive have seven years’ experience running successful intergenerational projects across the South, linking young and older people together to work collaboratively on a range of projects, including creating artwork, doing horticultural and agricultural activities, sharing life stories and experiences, developing life skills and spending time socialising. Their new project will link young people from different Bristol youth groups with care home residents. Their project will focus on ways in which older and younger participants can learn from one another, share skills and celebrate each other’s strengths and talents.

The Linking Network will pair different schools across Bradford with local care homes and support them in a programme of engagement through the academic year that will encourage those involved to ‘share their story’ with each other. The programme will include classroom sessions to support understanding, exchanges of messages, arts and craft activities and digital technology. They also hope to collaborate with a local artist for a large-scale exhibition towards the end of the project.

Get in touch
We’re very excited to see how these new projects progress. Please follow us on Twitter @IntergenLinking and if you have been running an intergenerational project, particularly one involving older people living in care homes, we would love to hear from you! Please get in touch at To find out more about how to get involved in the project, please contact Jen Lindfield or Amy Lock

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Helping to make care better connected

By Lizzie Cernik, Communications officer, The Professional Records Standard Body (PRSB)

Lizzie's blog talks about Simone 

Let me introduce you to Simone Illger. Simone has helped us to support the development of the ‘About Me’ section of our website - in a person’s care record. She’s been sharing what she feels is important to her. She has had experience using social care and health services for most of her adult life, after her development was affected by the drug Thalidomide before birth.  

Simone says she’s always been fiercely independent. Her house has great adaptations to help her to live comfortably, but Simone says that when she leaves the house, she can lose her independence. Simone’s very confident and will ask someone in a shop to reach something that she wants but she wants more from society! She talks about being invited to a meeting but the button in the car park she was told to park in was out of reach. She had to rely on the kindness of strangers to help her out. Simone goes on to talk about hospital admissions. She prefers it when medial professionals try to find out about her. Simone wants to live in a world where assumptions aren’t made about her disability.  

Simone’s story on YouTube 

Co-production Week 2020 

The About Me section forms part of the new standards that the Professional Record Standards Body are developing, that will help to support better information sharing between social care and health. This in turn will lead to more connected services and more personalised care and wellbeing that can be tailored to each individual.

The PRSB is currently seeking more opinions from social workers, health and care professions, informal carers and people who use services. As well as 'About Me', we are looking for views on other areas of information sharing in social care and health, including transfers of care and what is needed in an emergency or when a referral is made. 

We'd like to invite you to complete these two short surveys on social care information. There is also an easy read version of the survey, as well as support materials to help people who have difficulty reading to complete it. 

Please help us to bridge the gaps between social care and health to deliver a better future for everyone who needs to use services. 

See also 
Using standards to make care safer and more personalised - By Professor Maureen Baker CBE, Chair, Professional Record Standards Body

Co-production in 2020: A tech revolution?

By James Anthony, Digital Communications Officer at SCIE

Growing up in Norfolk highlighted the stark contrasts in digital isolation

It’s been amazing to lead on SCIE’s Co-production Week 2020 and embrace new ways of working. This year, I’ve helped to co-produce and deliver a workshop with 50 participants, plus broadcast a webinar to nearly 500 people – completely remotely. This isn’t something we would even have dared to attempt before March.

It’s also made a big difference in changing attitudes to remote working. This might come as an eye-roll moment for some who have been asking organisations to be more accommodating to remote working for years, something which is vital for good co-production. Suddenly it has become acceptable. As Ossie Stuart put it during our webinar “What [COVID-19] has shown us is that, people can change their minds”.

Those of us celebrating a tech revolution and welcoming this shift in attitudes, however, ought to be cautious.

There are many people here in the UK who don’t have great access to technology. These barriers to using technology tend to be higher for older people, those with disabilities or ethnic minorities. All of these groups need to be fully engaged for meaningful co-production to take place.

It feels strange to think about a life without connective technology all around us, having grown up with an internet connection as part of my childhood. I really felt this difference when I started my working life at a small carers charity in Norwich and across Norfolk, where many people were isolated because of their lack of access to technology, and couldn’t participate in co-produced work due to struggles in using email, smartphones, or websites.

Our answer then was to stick to traditional methods of communication including printed materials, phone calls and face-to-face visits. If organisations are looking to cut back on spending, it might be tempting to stop sending physical letters or reduce staff time for phone calls and visits, but they really are valuable. Their loss would be felt by those for whom hopping onto the internet is not a viable substitute. For any organisations engaging in co-production – great – but make sure to check you’re still using those traditional communication methods to include everyone.

More importantly, in the long term, resources need to prioritise digital inclusion. If service providers are serious about co-producing design, delivery and evaluation of a service with people who use them then time, effort and money needs to be invested into building digital skills for all. Don’t just rely on the ‘tech revolution’ that COVID-19 has brought us.

And of course – where co-production and digital inclusion is done well, celebrate it! That’s what Co-production Week is all about. Watch our webinar to find out more.

Co-production in a changing world

Angela Catley | Community CatalystsBy Angela Catley, Director of Development, Community Catalysts 

I sat down to write something for #coproweek and realised I wasn’t totally sure where my head was at on this essential approach. Not that this piece is a work in progress or anything! Here at Community Catalysts we have been huge advocates of co-production for many years – learning from allies like Clenton Farquharson and the National Co-production Advisory Group (NCAG), supporting small care enterprises with coproduction at the heart of their design and delivery and running many projects with the slogan ‘nothing about us, without us’ front and centre. 

Co-production Week 2020 >>>

Then came Covid-19 and that tremendous community response followed by discussions about how to keep the momentum, #buildbackbetter and ensure that people at the heart stayed that way. This resonates with us of course – as committed community catalysts how could we not believe that people and communities have so many answers to the challenging questions we currently face. But it was also part of my head scratching as I began to write. What could co-production look like in this rapidly changing world as we all move forward together? 

I started thinking about the recent work we have been involved in. Local Area Coordination  and the kind of work undertaken by model leaders like Swansea but also the Great Communities Project in partnership with the charity MacIntyre , our People Can work with the council and community in Kingston and our work with Camphill Village Trust in rural North Yorkshire. What they all have in common is an investment in people who might otherwise be seen only in terms of their ‘needs’ – a focus on the things that makes people valuable and valued rather than vulnerable. What they also have in common, I realised as I mulled, is they don’t co-produce in a traditional way.

"Co-production is not just a word, it is a meeting of minds to find a shared solution. In practice, it involves people who use services being consulted, included and working together". - SCIE.

What they do is something really interesting – they ‘lead from behind’.

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur”.  - Nelson Mandela

They all consult, include and work together but they also invest in, build up and push to the front the people who might naturally step back.  As I tweeted at the height of the recent crisis:

Just thinking that if every one of the @GoodSamApp volunteers asked every one of the 1.5million shielded people 'what can you give' as well as 'what do you need' - the impact could be momentous!

In these post Covid-19 times as people who quickly stepped forward to help their community almost silently drift back - I wonder whether co-production with this kind of ‘lead from behind’ focus is something that public sector bodies and large local organisations could and should quickly engage with. I also wonder just how powerful and transformative that could be.