Co-production is increasingly being implemented by social services, acknowledging a shift in perspective of people who use services from beneficiaries to active participants in planning, delivery and implementation.
This approach can help to:
- Empower people who use services by giving them skills and confidence
- Gain insights into barriers and opportunities for people which can inform policy and practice changes
- Improve services by making them more attuned to people’s needs and expectations
Co-production is often included in national and international policy and legislation. For example, the European Social Charter sets out the right for people to participate in the management of social services.
In practice, co-production is implemented by social services in a number of ways, including:
- Giving an equal voice to people alongside that of the professional in creating individual care plans
- Hiring experts by experience to provide insights in service planning, commissioning and evaluation
- Using peer mentors who inspire and guide others