The Statutory Guidance for councils encourages co-production as a way of putting the Act into practice (making it happen). The Act says that councils should think about co-producing their approach alongside citizens to a range of new duties. Co-production is an approach that sees all people as having skills and expertise to offer (assets). Co-production can also mean that people are less likely to use acute services (prevention) and can help to sustain and promote wellbeing. Taking a co-produced approach to service design, delivery and commissioning can help councils to achieve many of the main principles of the Act.
Over the last forty years, co-production has become steadily more widespread in the public and voluntary sectors in the United Kingdom and across the world. There are examples of co-production in mental health services, (See Lambeth Living Well) education, adult and children's social care, (See KeyRing) youth services, arts activities (See Tin Arts) and restorative justice to name a few.
Co-production means professionals and citizens sharing power to design, plan and deliver support together. It's about recognising that everyone has an important contribution to make to improve quality of life for people and communities.
Co-production needs the following things to work:
- The six principles of co-production:
- Recognising people as assets.
- Building on people's capabilities.
- Developing two-way, reciprocal relationships.
- Encouraging peer support.
- Blurring boundaries between delivering and receiving services.
- Facilitating rather than delivering (see 'what is co-production section').
- Making sure that power is balanced between people getting support, and the people who support them.
It is important to recognise that co-production is different from activities like consultation, engagement and co-design because it doesn't just ask for people's ideas and insights; it also includes their skills and expertise (See Developing a new day care service). Co-production is about doing things together, not just talking about things together.