In a nutshell, co-production is when professionals work in partnership with people who have lived experience, to develop solutions to challenges in public services and communities.
The definition we use is:
Co-production is an asset-based approach to public services that enables people providing and people receiving services to share power and responsibility, and to work together in equal, reciprocal and caring relationships. It creates opportunities for people to access support when they need it, and to contribute to social change.
It is a mindset and a way of working, based on these 5 values:
Value people and build on their strengths
Develop networks that operate across silos
Focus on what matters for the people involved
Build relationships of trust & shared power
Enable people to be change makers
We have a Knowledge Base containing information about co-production and plenty of case studies. Section 1 is all about "what is co-production". You can find those resources here, and explore the rest of the Knowledge Base from there.
What's this got to do with involvement?
Involvement is one of the 5 ways of working enshrined within the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which highlights ‘the importance of involving people with an interest in achieving the well-being goals, and ensuring that those people reflect the diversity of the area which the body serves.’
In the Welsh policy context, we use the term involvement (as in, citizen or community involvement) alongside the term co-production because they are so similar in practice.
"I've learnt to trust myself more but also to place trust in people's capacity to find solutions that meet their own needs. It's given me permission to be bolder but more human in conversations with funders and commissioners that has ultimately allowed more genuine and meaningful discussions."
- Sian Davies, Mencap Cymru, Head of Impact and Learning