What is Co-production?
Co-production essentially describes a relationship between service provider and service user that draws on the knowledge, ability and resources of both to develop solutions to issues that are claimed to be successful, sustainable and cost-effective, changing the balance of power from the professional towards the service user. The approach is used in work with both individuals and communities.
The New Economics Foundation has developed a work stream focusing on the theory and practice of co-production which provides the following useful definition:
“Co‐production means delivering public services in an equal and reciprocal relationship between professionals, people using services, their families and their neighbours. Where activities are co‐produced in this way, both services and neighbourhoods become far more effective agents of change”.
You can read more about the principles and values of co-production in our Resources section; learn about co-production in practice in our Case Studies section; Discussion and Videos; and exchange practice and learning with other practitioners in the Network section.
What does co-production mean to you?
"On a simple level, co-production is about involving people in the delivery of public services, helping to change their relationship with services from dependency to genuinely taking control." - Communities in Control, NHS Tayside Health Equity Strategy
“Co-production means delivering public services in an equal and reciprocal relationship between professionals, people using services, their families and their neighbours.” - New Economics Foundation
“It recognises and aims to combine and strengthen different kinds of knowledge and experience, changing the balance of power from the professional towards the service user.” - Scottish Community Development Centre
“I dislike the term co-production…..but absolutely support the concept. It is about involving people not only in the rowing and the steering of the boat, but also in actually building it.” - Mr Sandy Watson OBE DL, Chairman NHS Tayside
“Co-production is the process of active dialogue and engagement between people who use services, and those who provide them” – Sir Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland
"On a personal level it's about learning to let go of my control, and rely instead on my influence, as an equal partner, over the things which affect the lives of other people." - Dr Drew Walker, director of Public Health, NHS Tayside
‘For me it’s about combining our mutual strengths and capacities so that we can work with one another on an equal basis to achieve positive change’ - Fiona Garven, Director, SCDC