Co-production Week 2017

Co-production Week 2017

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

This is what co-production looks like

By Sharon Allen, Chief Executive, Skills for Care @sharonallensfc 


As I was sitting at our national conference earlier this year, listening to Disability Rights UK Ambassador Sir Bert Massie, Tina Coldham, Chair of SCIE Co-production Committee and TLAP chair Clenton Farquharson, being very clear about what people who need care and support need to think about when recruiting staff, I thought: "This is what co-production looks like".

Sir Bert Massie, Tina Coldham and Clenton Farquharson at the Skills for Care conference 
Their lively and utterly frank discussion was one of the highlights of our conference and in this Co-production Week, a reminder of why we must include the lived experiences of our fellow citizens in everything we do.

It’s something I’ve been committed to throughout my career 

This is because it is obvious to me that if we don’t include the voices and experiences of people who actually use care and support services, we end up doing things that neither work nor are person centred.

One the key drivers in our sector is leadership and leaders like me have to model in our organisations, that co-production is not an optional extra.  I'm fortunate that colleagues in Skills for Care get this and we work together to make it happen.
A great example of co-production is our information hub 

This is designed for individual employers and came out of a sector roundtable event. A smart idea, driven from day one by individual employers who provided invaluable insight and experience when the specification for this hub was being developed. They continued to guide and advise the project all the way through and in 2016/17 there were more than 40,000 page views on the hub.

Our Employing Personal Assistants toolkit was another project co-produced with employers. We worked with members of People Hub - the personal health budgetsnetwork - to ensure this resource was equally relevant to holders of Personal Health Budgets. The toolkit has proved popular because it is fit for purpose with 6066 people accessing the toolkit and 16000 page views.

Underpinning this was the creation and implementation of a participation policy so people offering their expertise are appropriately supported and reimbursed as no one should be out of pocket when they support co-production.

Our recently published autism guides were co-produced 

They were co-produced with people with lived experience so they were able to shape guides that could actually have an impact. Some of that co-production group also made videos to increase the awareness and understanding of autism which can be viewed here. 

More recently we had a representative from West of England Centre for Inclusive Living on our Adult Care Trailblazer group, which has done some brilliant work in creating the new apprenticeship standards for our sector.

These examples are illustrations that we are making progress and I am also aware there is more we can and must do.

That’s why I’m making a pledge this week to continue to drive our co-production work forward. Not only is it the right thing to do, it makes sense if we want to create products and services that actually make a difference.

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