What is co-production?

"Co-production is a way of working that involves people who use health and care services, carers and communities in equal partnership; and which engages groups of people at the earliest stages of service design, development and evaluation. Co-production acknowledges that people with ‘lived experience’ of a particular condition are often best placed to advise on what support and services will make a positive difference to their lives."

Coalition for Collaborative Care

The Coalition for Collaborative Care's model of co-production outlines five values and seven steps that can make co-production happen. Underlying values of co-production include a commitment to sharing power and decisions, a culture of openess, honesty and respect, and clear communication.

How did Wellbeing Our Way use co-production?

Wellbeing Our Way was co-produced at every stage of the programme, from developing a model of impact, to writing newsletters, to delivering shared learning workshops.

Co-producing Wellbeing Our Way wasn't always easy, but on balance was an effective investment in the programme's future. Involving a diverse range of people in programme development led to high levels of meaningful engagement. Allowing large numbers of people and organisations to contribute increased board ownership of the programme, and ensured that Wellbeing Our Way was rooted in the strengths, needs, and aspirations of its communities.

SCIE (Social Care Institute for Excellence) published a 'practice example' about Wellbeing Our Way as part of its co-production in social care guide; the practice example outlines how Wellbeing Our Way co-produced, what helped, what was difficult, and what the outcomes were.

What about the organisations we worked with?

Many of the organisations who were part of Wellbeing Our Way were already co-producing in one way or another. Through shared learning opportunities and masterclasses, we enabled organisations to develop their approaches to co-production even further. View the storify from one Co-production Masterclass for interesting thoughts about what co-production is (and what it isn't), and to see how we used 'Pledge Cards' to encourage people to make changes in their organisation based on learning from events.

Cat Duncan-Rees, Policy Manager at Stockport Together, presented at one of our Co-production Masterclasses. Download her presentation slides to find out how co-production is used in practice in Greater Manchester.

Hywel Sedgwick, Co-production Coordinator at Hestia Housing and Support, blogged for Wellbeing Our Way about how Hestia had developed a Wellbeing and Empowerment Programme to bring staff, volunteers and service users together and embed co-production into the day-to-day working of the organisation.

How did we involve less-heard groups?

Wellbeing Our Way worked to engage people with a wide range of experiences and health conditions:

  • We specifically invited people with with a range of backgrounds, identities and experiences to contribute to the programme.
  • We used a range of facilitation techniques which offered different opportunities to contribute.
  • We monitored who was involved in the programme using a diversity monitoring form, to ensure people with a range of experience and backgrounds were involved in the programme.
  • We published a rewards and recognition policy so we could appropriately reimburse or pay people with lived experience for their time and contributions.
  • Identifying the aspirations, needs and strengths of groups who are yet to be involved using persona templates can be useful when trying to diversify a project.