Working with people to design and improve services – co-production - is something that has a long history in the social housing sector. However, it’s been done in piecemeal fashion – informed by a grass roots approach that embodies the very creation of Housing Associations.
We are working on two key projects at the moment. One is reviewing the whole dining experience in our Extra Care schemes to ensure it is what our customers want, the other is working with our customers in our Sheltered Housing Schemes to find out what they value from our service and involving them in service improvement
What does this look like in reality?
For the Extra Care Schemes we have held our initial get together with people. How did co-production principles inform this? Well, we didn't set the agenda; we asked people what they wanted to discuss and facilitated this through small workshops.
- We had a 'magical ingredient' card for them to pop into a casserole pot to say what the most important thing was to them about eating their meal. We asked them to write a recipe for the perfect meal
- We asked them to let us eat with them and experience the lunch time meal too - and then we all wrote a 'restaurant critic' piece
- We also asked them to walk us through the whole experience using a road map and talk us through 'what must always happen' and 'what must never happen'
- And we asked how they wanted us to feedback from the day, and they want us to go back again in person - so we have booked in those days.
We are making sure we give the same opportunity-to-comment for those that didn't come to the sessions - by asking them to complete a survey which covers exactly the same topics.
What have we learnt so far?
That people like to talk and that time is of the essence. You need lots of people to facilitate and they need to know what the purpose and principles of the session are. People are different and some love the talking sessions, whereas others don't.
Most importantly we have found out much more about the people who live in our Extra Care Schemes and have started to build some relationships - and found some great examples of humour. One person wrote that their 'magic ingredient' for the dining experience is: “When I walk in the room!”
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