Monday, 10 July 2017
Co-production, co-production, co-production
By Gerry Nosowska, Director, Effective Practice
Co-production Week gives me the opportunity to reflect on what co-production means to me and how I can embrace it.
I am far from an expert on co-production. Although my social work training and practice has always emphasised working with people as equals, I am a long way from true co-production. I like to manage situations, I have blind spots about power, and I have habits for how I do thinks which significantly get in the way.
So this blog is not about how to do co-production but instead what I have learned from my small steps about why to do it.
1. It feels right: On the few occasions when I have taken a co-production approach - sitting down with a blank piece of paper and starting with ‘what do we think we should do?’ - it has felt much better than turning up with a plan, a form or an agenda.
2. It teaches me about myself: The times when I have co-produced work, I have been called out on many assumptions I make about who is ‘professional’ and who can do what. It is uncomfortable but I need to hear it.
3. It results in better work: The co-produced projects I have been involved in have all been so much better than anything I or social workers alone could do. The Role of the social worker in end of life, palliative and bereavement care contains stories and language I have no experience of. The Carers website contains case examples and tips for practice that speak straight to me. The Position statement and charter for disabled adults and social workers contains actions that I had not considered.
So for these three reasons, I will keep going with co-production. I have written a commitment for this week. And please, if you are thinking about co-production, do it; if you are doing it, keep going; and if you know how to do it, help us beginners.