Co-production Week 2017

Co-production Week 2017

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Stockport: we never called it co-production but we’ve been doing it for the past 15 years

By Kieran McMahon, Disability Stockport

A longer version of this blog originally appeared on the Think Local Act Personal website 

One of the major issues when I joined Disability Stockport in 2003 was the state and location of the two buildings used to deliver our services. They were not fully accessible. The Day Centre was in an old clinic at one end of Stockport and the offices / support services were in an old church at the other end. Visiting the latter involved negotiating a chained rear entrance and narrow corridors. This was somewhat ironic as we were the major provider for access advice and awareness training!


Life Chances of Disabled People

When 'Life Chances of disabled people' was published in 2005 the board and members all agreed to follow its 20 year plan to develop a Centre for Independent Living (CIL) in Stockport. After some searching and canvassing of prospective partners, a mortgage funder was found to purchase a suitable building. This started a long search and many, many discussions with members (users), staff, families and designers as to what kind of building and what kind of service we wanted.

Finding a suitable building

Over the next year we identified two possible buildings and listened to the views of everyone on what they wanted. The members, staff, volunteers and families wanted to retain the 'big room' element of the old centre but also wanted more options for activities including cooking and art as well as properly equipped toilet and kitchen areas, which were both lacking. In 2008 we came up with a third option in the centre of Stockport which thankfully everyone liked.

By the time we had a major extension there was a greater confidence with change and the process of co-producing was very straightforward. Members gave their views on the design and purpose, a few things were altered and a few new ideas added.

A further achievement of ours has been to provide an open door policy and encourage visitors into the centre to allow members to speak for themselves in local consultations. Members' reps are elected each year and meet with myself every month to decide on direction and activities as well as looking at any issues that may arise. While we have never specifically called it co-production, this has been our way of doing things for the last 15 years.


Disability Stockport started life as a pressure group in the 1970s. Now it has grown to a medium-sized charity offering services via its Independent Living Centre.

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