Co-production Week 2019

Co-production Week 2019

Friday, 28 June 2019

Seven reasons NOT to do coproduction


Warning: may contain satire



The National Coproduction Advisory Group. Written by Catriona Duncan-Rees.

One. Don’t do it if you already have great policies and procedures that provide all the answers.
If you don’t want to co-produce any new ones – be sure to lock yourself away and continue to write great policies, procedures, business cases, whatever else you like – and keep believing that they contain all the answers and will solve all the problems faced by the system. And be sure to make sure that everyone knows ‘there is no policy for that’ when suggesting new ways of doing things.

Two. Don’t do it if you are confident that it is possible to magically create the perfect systems and process to manage human beings.
If you are certain that productive solutions to human issues lies in ‘just finding’ the right IT system, process map, formula for processing ‘stuff’ more efficiently, then… well good luck. Please can you let us all know when you do – so that we can be sure to scale and spread it at pace.

Three. Don’t do it if you are convinced that people should not be trusted to do things for themselves.
Clearly people of ‘limited’ ability are not capable of making decisions for themselves, or for that matter do anything for themselves. The system is designed to fix people and care for people, therefore the responsibility for this is in the system, and your amazing management of it. 

Four. You know how much co-production costs.
Because of course coproduction is REALLY expensive. I mean getting all those people into a room to talk about things they really know nothing about – oh and the biscuits! The cost of all those biscuits!

You know it is so much better to spend that money on making sure that everything you do looks GREAT on paper. You have an amazing business case for change, a small army of programme managers, programme leads, a few consultants all running around asking questions, analysing this and that. And then starting the whole process again until you find the perfect formula. So much cheaper than asking real people what matters to them.

Five. You know how much time co-production takes.
It takes up far too much time. Time that needs to be spent writing policies and procedures, developing business cases, managing a small army of programme managers and consultants, reading all those reports and business cases, analysing them to make sure it all adds up, amending, adjusting, re-writing, re-calculating until it all looks right on paper.
We don’t have time to find all those hard to reach people and put on events that would help us to solve the problems we face.

Six. You understand the importance of keeping people safe and free from risk.
People with ‘limited’ abilities need to be kept safe from themselves and other people. They need to be ‘cared for’ in hospitals, care homes, even their own homes. You need to know where they are, and need to know that the people caring from them are able to ‘control’ them and keep them safe. The community is not a safe place for people, they might get mugged, or verbally abused, or taken advantage of. They might not be treated with respect and dignity.

Seven. You are the expert, and have been trained to be a very good expert.
You know everything there is to know about how to keep people safe and well. What time they need to get up, dressed, eat, sleep (repeat). What medicines they need and when. When to pee. Have a cup of tea. Places they want to go, things they want to do. You know what matters to people much more than they do, because you are the expert.

As soon as you ask people themselves what matters to them you run the risk of hearing things you don’t want to hear. They might not want to go to bed when you think they should, or eat or sleep or play (and repeat monotonously day in day out).
In fact the biggest problem we face is PEOPLE, if it weren’t for the people then the health and care systems and processes, policies and procedures would run like clockwork…

Post Script:         
Obviously this blog is tongue in cheek – but it does reflect some of the myths about coproduction. The National Coproduction Advisory Group believe there are NO reasons not to coproduce.

We believe that coproduction is a Long Term Relationship with citizens, it takes time but can make a huge difference, making things easier for everyone in the long run.

Ultimately coproduction IS sharing power. If we have done it together from scratch it is coproduction… If we haven’t, it isn’t. The POWER of coproduction is great relationships. Get this right (the cultural conditions) – the rest will follow (not without continued effort mind!)
The theme of this year’s Co-production Week is ‘power’. How powerful to work together to smash this lot!

For more information about coproduction please visit:
And to find out how people and organisations are making coproduction real check out:


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