Policy & Practice

Redesigning Support for Care Leavers


Exploring the use of co-productive methods to collaboratively design and improve leaving care services

This IRISS project, brought together care leavers in Argyll and Bute with their Corporate Parents (Throughcare and Aftercare, Social Work, Health, Homelessness and Education services), to explore what a co-productive approach could look like in the social work sector.

The project focused upon the social and emotional care of care leavers as they move on from care. Workshops were used to share care leavers’ experiences and develop ideas that respond to the needs expressed by young people. These ideas were prototyped in the workshops and tested and evaluated as part of service provision. For more information about the project process please visit the project blog

IRISS (2012)


Co-production of Health and Wellbeing in Scotland


A new book published by the Joint Improvement Team and Governance International in association with the Scottish Co-Production Network and the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland.

In Scotland co-production is no longer just a ‘nice idea’ but a necessity to deal with increasing health inequalities (Sir Harry Burns) and changing demographics and expectations (Gerry Power). This book shows how and why Scotland has become one of the leaders in public service co-production – and how the lessons learnt so far can be applied more widely.

Joint Improvement Team / Governance International (2013)


Co-production: A Series of Commissioned Reports, Local Authorities & Research Council's Initiative, LARCI 2010


LARCI has commissioned a series of papers to develop and promote thinking on the theme of Co-production of services, with users, citizens, communities and other stakeholders. This paper provides a brief introduction to co-production. It is based on longer papers summarising the research in this area, available on the co-production community of practice (see www.communities.idea.gov.uk).

LARCI, 2010


'Co-production in Health and Social Care: What it is and how to do it'



Governance International and the Scottish Government's Joint Improvement Team have published an up-to-date outline of public service co-production in the Scottish health and social care system. Contributions to the pamphlet have come national policymakers in Scotland such as Derek Feeley, the Director General Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of NHS Scotland, Rory Mair, the Chief Executive of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, and Sir Harry Burns, the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland as well as Gerry Power and Andrew Jackson of the Joint Improvement Team.

Joint Improvement Team / Governance International, 2012 


Delivering sustainable outcomes with less money




This SCDC Discussion Paper looks at the likely impact of public expenditure cuts on local communities and presents the case for reconfiguring the relationship between communities and public services through co-production and community capacity building.

SCDC, 2011



Deepening and widening co-production for better outcomes in health and social care in Scotland


Learning Outcomes of the Co-production Workshops in September 2012.

Are we nearly there yet? Feedback from the participants on the state of co-production in Scotland. Download the outcomes here

Governance International (2012)


All Together Now: A collaborative and relationship-centred approach to improving assessment and care management with older people in Swansea


The need for more holistic and inclusive approaches to assessment and caremanagement for older people is widely promoted but difficult to achieve. This paperdescribes the All Together Now initiative in Swansea, South Wales, which seeks topromote better practice in assessment and care management by actively involvingall stakeholders, older people and family carers, and practitioners and serviceproviders from across the statutory and third sectors. The project is underpinned bya relationship-centred approach based on the belief that an enriched environment ofcare will only be created when the needs of all stakeholders are acknowledged andgiven attention. How such a model was used to establish the goals for the project isdescribed, together with the proposed model of evaluation.

Nick Andrews, Deborah Driffield and Vicky Poole (2009)


Partnership in practice: learning from the Aberdeen City Befriending Partnership for Older People


Co-production is about building meaningful relationships between individuals, communities and the organisations and services that support them, building on the skills, knowledge, resources and experiences of each. To enable this approach to be successful,  organisations must work well together and often, establishing a shared vision can lead to new and innovative ways of working.

Aberdeen City Befriending Partnership is an innovative partnership responsible for delivering a city wide befriending service for people aged 55+ to help them achieve a good quality of life and give them the added confidence they need to remain independent in their own home. It is a partnership of 5 well-established third sector organisations. This short report shares the process of the partnership forming; the challenges and learning along the way, and the impact of the partnership approach. For further information visit: http://www.befriendingaberdeen.org.uk/


Co-production and evaluation

SCN People

The Scottish Co-production Network recently brought together a range of members and guests to ask the question ‘What would good practice look like in the co-production setting?’

To help us unpick this question we asked two speakers to discuss some of their work around co-production and evaluation. You can watch videos of their talks here or you can read a brief summary below.

Susan Robb, Scottish Borders Council

Our first speaker, Susan Robb of Scottish Borders Council, discussed her work with the Youth Commission on Bullying – a group of young people who worked to ‘build the ship, not steer it’ in regards to the Council’s bullying policy.

Susan detailed the background of the year-long project which brought together practitioners from a range of backgrounds along with 12 young people who were invited to take part through local schools. The impact of the young people’s role in the process was clear from the very beginning and they brought fresh perspectives that helped form the Council’s policy.

The evaluation of the project supported by an independent researcher (a vital element of objectivity) who worked with the young people as well as the project practitioners to conduct a range of interviews. This independent facilitator was vital as much of the questions were related to the quality of the co-produced evaluation approach.

You can read the report and more on the Commission here: www.scotborders.gov.uk/antibullying

Julia Slay, nef (the new economics foundation)

The second speaker of the event was Julia Slay of nef, the new economics foundation, who spoke about the relative early stages which evaluating co-production is at – reflecting  that traditional research methods may not be sufficiently able to capture the outcomes of a co-produced approach.

The value of inputs, that is what people contribute to the project, is often simply measured in time spent, rather than capturing the value of who is involved and what skills or experience they bring. Examples of this were given: Holy Cross Centre Trust who evaluated their Time Baking approach, with a focus on what the individuals brought with them as well as their time spent.

The second point was approaching the challenge of providing evidence of preventative measures. This is often achieved through case studies or through control groups, with examples of the Croydon Service User Network who demonstrated a reduction in A&E attendance.

Julia outlined some work in progress around demonstrating the link between co-produced approaches and well-being:

Self-determination theory             Co-production

Relatedness                              Peer support networks

                                                  Mutuality and reciprocity

Autonomy                                  Blurring distinctions between partners

                                                  Facilitating not delivering

Competence                              Recognising people as assets

                                                  Building capabilities

Julia recommended the following resource: http://coproductionnetwork.com/page/measurement-and-evaluation

SCVO Briefing: "Make co-production part of all public service commissioning processes"

SCVO have published a briefing highlighting a need for co-production to be part of the public service commisioning process:

Co-production offers an approach to delivering public services that fundamentally reconfigures the relationship between professionals, people using services, their families and their neighbours, by delivering services in an equal and reciprocal relationship.Co-production is characteristic of the way third sector organisations work. It puts an end to ‘them’ and ‘us’, instead, people pool different types of knowledge and skills, based on lived experience and professional learning.

The central idea in co-production is that people who use services are not drains on the system but hidden resources and any service that ignores this resource cannot be efficient. The people who are currently defined as users, clients or patients provide the vital ingredients which allow public service professionals to be effective. They are the basic building blocks of our missing neighbourhood-level support systems – families and communities – which underpin economic activity as well as social development. 

The power of co-production lies in the ability of individuals and communities to develop an active stake in delivering and solving problems. Active citizens are the key to unleashing community power which can help prevent social problems like crime and ill-health. Through the co-production, public services can build supportive relationships and social networks that encourage behaviour to prevent problems and help people or families in crisis carry on coping when they no longer qualify for all-round professional support.

In co-production the fundamental questions in designing and delivering public services become “what do users need?” and “how can that be provided best?".

Download the briefing paper here.

All Together Now - case study



This paper describes the All Together Now initiative in Swansea, South Wales, which seeks to promote better practice in assessment and care management by actively involving all stakeholders, older people and family carers, and practitioners and service providers from across the statutory and third sectors.

The project is underpinned by a relationship-centred approach based on the belief that an enriched environment of care will only be created when the needs of all stakeholders are acknowledged and given attention. How such a model was used to establish the goals for the project is described, together with the proposed model of evaluation.

The report can be downloaded here.

Change Fund Overview Report 2013/14

This report presents an analysis of the 2013/14 mid-year reports submitted by all 32 Partnerships. This is presented as an improvement resource for use by all partners.

Change Fund Progress Report 2013/14 [1Mb]