Co-production in perspective
Decision-maker or Solution-builder?
We enter 2018 with co-production hitting an all-time high in the popularity stakes. It seems to capture the mood of the moment, harnessing community assets to make better use of diminishing resources, particularly in the fields of health and social care. Institute members report positive experiences – well beyond these subjects, and Government Ministers increasingly find ways to encourage the practice in speeches and policy initiatives. No-one argues against co-production, but its relationship with public and stakeholder consultation might benefit from greater clarity.
Obviously, the very act of involving service users in designing new services can amount to being consulted. But for some people, co-production can be a much wider concept, and can even alter the balance of power in organisations. According to TLAP’s (Think Local Act Personal) Ladder of Participation co-production can mean sharing strategic decision-making about policies as well as decisions. In short, the decision-making is sub-contracted to those who co-produce.