Co-Production and Community Planning 

Learning Event Report- 15th September 2017, Aberdeen 

This SCN event was a chance for network members to learn more and share experiences about how co-production based approaches can be used within community planning. 

Part 2 "Community Planning" of the Community Empowerment Act places a strong emphasis on participation and co-production. But what does co-production in community planning look like? And how do we best create the conditions for communities to be fully involved in community planning processes?

This event explored how we respond to these key challenges and provided a chance to see how practice is already developing across the country.

The morning began with a warm welcoming and introduction from Dave Allan, Deputy Director at SCDC, who highlighted some key principles and the current opportunities for co-production within community planning.


This was followed by Chris Littlejohn, Deputy Director of Public Health, NHS Grampian who outlined their approach to co-production in community planning in Aberdeen which has been driven by the development of an Engagement Participation and Empowerment Strategy. This Strategy is intended to inform the development of consistent participation policies by each community planning partner and subsequent actions to help communities understand their rights under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

Chris said “We didn't want to write a participation strategy that didn't involve participation!” 


Next up was Fabio Villian, Chief Officer for TSI Moray, providing our delegates with a third sector perspective to the opportunities for co-production within community planning. Fabio gave a brief introduction to what it is that TSI Moray do and why they do it before getting into the nitty gritty of co-production and participation.



Fabio outlined the drivers for participation and engagement, stating that; “While there are economic drivers for co-production, public services were stretched even before this was the case, and that the principles and values of participation and engagement, are a core driver for making co-production part of mainstream planning”.



Fabio expressed that the only way for co-production to work, is sticking to the core principles; respect, appreciation and willingness to address power and resource imbalance.

Following Fabio’s presentation, the group were asked to discuss and answer two question:

“What are the drivers and opportunities that exist to apply the principles of co-production in community planning?”


“What gets in the way of this, and what can we do to overcome any barriers?”

 Key drivers and opportunities from the participants included:

  • Demand e.g. assets
  • Sustainability
  • Policy (engagement strategy, etc.)
  • Participatory Budgeting
  • Greater involvement and opportunities for groups in planning structure
  • People have to find different ways of working
  • Mini-publics
  • Chance to develop new ways to engage appropriately to the community in question

While many agreed the main barriers to achieving co-production in community planning are:

  • Different strategies/priorities/deadlines, etc.
  • Bureaucracy
  • Motivation – in it for the right reasons?
  • Policies in place – failures in implementation and support
  • Understanding why e.g. perception that it is an excuse to save money and withdraw services
  • Reluctance to give up financial assets
  • Appropriate resources/support
  • Culture
  • Trust

Overall, participants found the event interesting and informative. However, what came across clearly from the speakers and delegates is that co-production is going strong but there is still a lot of work to be done for this to become the ‘norm’ within a community planning context.

After lunch we were fortunate to get a quick chat with Fabio Villian and hear his thoughts on key opportunities for Co-Production and Community Planning.

See interview here.

The presentations from this event are now available. Click on the links below to download them.

Dave Allan, Deputy Director at SCDC

Chris Littlejohn, Deputy Director of Public Health, NHS Grampian 

Fabio Villian, Chief Officer for TSI Moray