Welcome to Co-production Week Scotland
In this first blog kicking off the week, Fiona Garven, Director of SCDC and Chair of the Scottish Co-production Network looks at the progress co-production has made in Scotland - and where it can go next.
It doesn’t feel like so many years ago that we started talking about co-production in Scotland. In fact, in relation to the time it takes to make a system shift towards new ways of working, it has actually been no time at all!But, since it started in 2011, the Scottish Coproduction Network has grown to a membership of almost 1,000 made up of people active in their own communities, practitioners from across a range of sectors, and others interested in how to make coproduction fundamental to public policy.
Co-production has been championed in Scotland for a long time, in the work of many community and voluntary sector organisations, and by those who believe in the importance of participation and the contribution of all in helping to achieve better outcomes. Through the Scottish Co-production Network, we’ve been able to share examples of citizens and services working together to produce innovative solutions to many social issues, from working with vulnerable young people to maximise their life chances through to support for older people to live well and independently for longer - there are many other examples besides.
But, although these examples of good practice are making a positive impact on people’s lives, we have yet to reach the stage where working alongside citizens or service users as equal partners, or recognising and supporting independent community action, is at the foundation of how we deliver public services in Scotland.
Over the last few years we have seen a significant move at government level towards an empowerment agenda, with specific legislation in the shape of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act, but also supported by policy initiatives in respect of reforming public services, new thinking on ‘what makes us healthy’, and addressing inequalities - all with an emphasis on community participation and the involvement of citizens.
Co-production is at the heart of nearly all of our policy ambitions, and with Co-production Week Scotland, it's time to build on the enthusiasm and messages for a national campaign where we can all contribute our ideas, thoughts and examples of where this way of working and thinking has made a real difference.
We still face the impacts of austerity in Scotland, and new global challenges in the manifest distrust of political and governance systems. Now, more than ever, is the time to promote and celebrate the difference co-production can make in shaping Scotland to be a more inclusive, participative and equal place to live.