Wednesday, 2 May 2018
Nothing About Us Without Us
Patrick Wood on the need to keep it real in co-production
Simple but revolutionary
Co-production is a simple but revolutionary idea. It’s about developing more equal partnerships between people who use services, carers and professionals with the aim of providing support and services that meet the needs and respond to the wishes of people who access health and social care provision.
I fully support SCIE’s approach to co-production, which is grounded in the principles of equality (everyone has assets), diversity, accessibility and reciprocity (or getting something back for putting something in).
More than a buzzword
There’s a lot of talk about co-production in statutory and voluntary sector organisations at the moment, which indicates that the concept is moving towards the mainstream. Whilst this trend can be broadly welcomed, we need to be aware of the associated dangers. Sadly, I’m aware of initiatives supported by large service providers that use co-production as a buzzword in the aggressive pursuit of funding, which ultimately works to the disadvantage of the communities they purport to serve.
We need to remain vigilant to ensure that co-production doesn’t end up as an empty word or co-opted approach to maintaining the status quo that has everything of real value stripped from it. As my old friend and fellow long-term survivor activist Terry Simpson says, mainstreaming has diluted the reach and potential of advocacy and peer support, and you can also see a similar limiting force at work in the history of the mental health recovery movement and the provision of talking treatments in this country.
From strategy to delivery
Sue Sibbald, the Sheffield based campaigner, trainer and activist for people with ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ produced a couple of Tweets during last year’s National Co-production Week that get right to the heart of the matter:
“Co-production is not asking me to come along and tell my story nor is it asking me what you think of your great idea... It's about me being there from strategy to delivery and you need to be aware of the power imbalance...”
Patrick Wood: Mental health training, advocacy, influence and participation, peer support and co-production. Co-ordinator of SUST (Sheffield User Survivor Trainers).