Co-production Guidance Principle 2

Principle 2: Power should be shared amongst all partners 

People want meaningful engagement with people and communities, feeling connected to services. Therefore, people who use services must be the starting point for any service improvement. If this did not happen there would be a continuation of a ‘top-down’ approach, which is ineffective and undermines co-production; it is important to work inclusively with people who use services.

Ways to share power:

At the start of the project ensure strong representation of people who use services in the project group.

  • If working with an individual (and their unpaid carer), spend time working out how they are meaningful involved in the co-production throughout the activity. Discuss things such as their vision and understanding of the piece of work, preferred level of involvement, preferred method of correspondence, do they need additional tools or support to enhance communication?
  • Explore with all involved the level of commitment required with the explicit aim of seeking stability in the relationship. This includes operating in a culturally appropriate and fully inclusive manner for all those involved in the activity.
  • Discuss with the group/individual how to run the activity/project. Have open discussions about how best to run meetings, who and how it is led/chaired, what is the best format and location for meetings. Keep this under review throughout the project.
  • Consider support and training for people to effectively take part in the work.

Recognising the complexity of people’s lives means staff need to be flexible to be inclusive. I.e. staff should be available to speak to people outside scheduled events/meetings to ensure they feel involved and understand how the work is proceeding.