Co-production – a better way of working together

Two men communicating via hands on deafblind manualPutting people at the heart of decision making is a key strategic priority for Sense.

Our aspiration is to move to a co-production approach where people actively contribute to every stage of planning, design, development and service delivery across all parts of Sense, reflecting our ‘I’ Statement: ‘No decision about me, without me’

What is co-production?

Co-production sounds like jargon, but it simply refers to a way of working, whereby everybody works together to come to a decision or create a service which works for everyone. It works on the basis that the people who use services are best placed to shape those services.

It also works on the assumption that everyone has strengths, skills and abilities to contribute. Some people may need support to make it happen – but that shouldn’t be a barrier. At Sense, we identify what support people need to get involved and then provide or arrange that support. It is everyone’s responsibility to make co-production work in their particular part of Sense.

This is something that our commissioners and regulators also expect us to do.  Indeed, in their 2016 review of the involvement of people using services, Better Care in My Hands, the Care Quality Commission state that ”people have a right in law to be involved in their care, as set out in the fundamental standard of ‘person centred care’, a standard below which care should never fall”. As such, services that have been rated as ‘outstanding’ have always been able to evidence how they involve and engage people in decision making in all aspects of their lives and how their support is provided.

Co-production in practice

There are some fantastic examples of involvement, engagement and co-production happening across Sense. Our teams are finding imaginative and creative ways to ensure that people’s views are listened to and contribute to planning and service delivery.

For example, the Sporting Sense programme consulted with people living in our accommodation services about the range of sports and physical activity opportunities they would like to get involved in. By involving people in the design of the programme, we are now able to offer a range of activities that people will enjoy and engage with regularly. As a result, we anticipate that people will be supported to live more active and healthier lives.

We also have exciting plans to maximise the involvement and engagement of people who use services and increase opportunities to use their feedback to improve and develop services. These plans include a comprehensive user satisfaction survey that will be undertaken during Autumn 2017, and a series of Working Together for Change workshops later in the year. These workshops will collect information from people’s person centred reviews (involving the people we support in decisions that affect them) to inform the development and delivery of services.

Co-production is a fantastic way of working – it is a fun and productive way of working together. You have the opportunity to see different perspectives and services do improve as a result.


Read about the Sense strategy for 2016-2019 ‘Growing, Stronger, Together’

Jonathan Monk

Author: Jonathan Monk

Jonathan is the Head of Quality at Sense

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