Practical things that you can do to get better at co-production (moving up the Spectrum of Practice)

Getting started:

  • Find out what assets (informal support, assets and networks) you have locally. Check with other colleagues and make sure you check whether other people have already found out about local assets. You could read more about taking an asset-based approach here (opens new window) and how someone carried out an asset mapping exercise here.
  • Hold focus groups with service providers, people who use services and their carers to find out what is working well locally and what is not. Read about how someone has done this in a collaborative way.
  • Develop an outcomes framework, working with local citizens and providers. Read about one way to do this here.
  • Work with people who use services and their carers to develop a set of criteria or principles about how services should be provided (quality characteristics). Some criteria that would mean you were putting into practice the market shaping duties in the Care Act could include: co-producing services; developing sustainable business models; involving family and friends in support; providing services collaboratively; taking a preventative approach. Read about some ways to do this here.
  • Support local providers to work with people with care and support needs to explore ways of working closely together with others, such as consortia of different providers to make sure that local assets are used together in a useful way. View the co-producing quality assessment example
  • Invite people who are likely to benefit from services (or who do benefit at the moment) and their carers to be on procurement panels. Make sure that people know what the panel is all about well ahead of the meeting. Make sure that people are part of developing the questions that should be asked. Make sure that you use as little jargon as possible and that any jargon that is used is fully explained.

Making progress:

  • Recruit and train local people who use services to become peer researchers. Support those people to carry out informal and semi-structured interviews with people to find out what their needs and aspirations are and what they value. Make sure that this work is done before you develop service specifications, so that people's ideas and feedback can influence the provision of services in the future. Using appreciative inquiry to find things out can help to get a deep and full picture of people's needs and aspirations. It can also build opportunities for future co-production. Read about an example of this here.
  • Think about using a structured approach like Working Together for Change. This approach uses different activities to engage with people. It puts these together with the information from person-centred reviews about what people say is working, not working and important for the future in services. This can mean using the opportunity of reviewing an existing service or range of services to make sure that the process of deciding what needs to change and how is truly co-produced. Read about how Working Together for Change can be used.
  • Employ people who use services to co-deliver training sessions with commissioners about co-production and personalisation for local provider organisations. This needs to happen before you put tenders out.
  • Work with local people who use services throughout the commissioning and procurement process. This should include co-designing services specifications, shortlisting applications, being on procurement panels and supporting the review and evaluation of services. Read about an example of this here.
  • Work with a group of people who use services to develop a framework to check the quality of services. Create job roles and pay people to act as quality assessors to visit projects and report back to commissioners. There are different ways that people can do this. For example, user-led assessments, mystery shopping or as peer researchers but it is very important that the framework to check the quality of services is designed by everyone working equally together. Read about an example of this here (opens new window).
  • Develop networks of people and organisations working closely together. These should involve providers, commissioners (including people who work in other areas, not only social care and health), people who use services and carers. Make sure that these networks:
    • Are working towards the same aim;
    • Have a shared way of working
    • Have open discussions and
    • Share information with all the members.
  • These networks have a role to play in all stages of the commissioning process. Working together in this way could be made more formal by using approaches such as alliance contracting to enable provider organisations to work closely together to deliver services. Read about an example of this here.