Wednesday, 3 May 2017
By Kevin Minier, carer.
Co-production teams are different from many teams as they often consist of people from very diverse backgrounds and experiences. In this blog I give some tips about how to be an effective member of a co-production team.
Can anybody be a member of a co-production team?
Yes – otherwise it is not co-production! Membership must represent all stakeholder groups: e.g. experts by experience, professionals, public/local community; additional expertise and skills can be included in a co-opted/advisory capacity.
We all have (unconscious) bias, prejudice, self-interest and to some extent that is why we require a broad spectrum of skills and experience on the co-production team: these views are all important.
Does it come naturally to be a co-production team member?
No – whether you’re a professional or lay member, all need training in co-production team membership skills.
Who is responsible?
Everybody – facilitators need to support a suitable environment and provide suitable training in co-production team skills; professionals and lay members must have the right attitude to co-production; commissioners need to appreciate the benefits of co-production for stakeholders.
What is a suitable environment?
An environment where everybody has the opportunity to contribute with accessibility and methods of communication that ensure inclusion happens. Every view must be listened to and considered as all viewpoints have the potential to inform the discussion and affect the outcome.
Projects have constraints, such as time, people, funds and buildings, however, the constraints must not drive the co-production process – a blank sheet of paper. Solutions that are co-produced can be cheaper and require fewer professional resources and often by-pass previously foreseen constraints.
All members need to know that they have been listened to and their involvement has contributed positively to the final solution; that they have enjoyed the experience and would be willing to be involved in future co-production projects.
What is included in suitable training?
A co-production team member must not presume they know everything and must expect to learn something new from the process. Training is required in new communication methods and ways of working that support inclusion.
Everyone must be focused on achieving the common goal – the optimum solution. This requires keeping on-topic and assisting the facilitators in covering the material and coming to an acceptable conclusion.
Points of contention need to be progressed outside the meeting and tabled at future meetings if required.