The search for practical examples of ‘co-production’

Increasingly, we talk about designing and delivering services through ‘co-production’. But what does this mean in practical terms? We’ve been working with a range of partners to develop an event to provide clear examples of good practice in ‘co-production’.

Co-production is about changing the relationship between those who deliver and those who use services. It is about re-shaping how you design, plan and deliver services, but doing this alongside members of the public.

Sometimes, public services will steam ahead with developing new services and land up with a list of formal services into which they shoehorn the public. Members of the public are frustrated that their local authority offers services that are seen as wasteful and don’t offer simple things that they truly need. Many public services are still delivered from the perspective of single service deliverers. The leads to citizens experiencing multiple, fragmented approaches that can result in:

  • Contradictory and conflicting interventions;
  • Poor outcomes for the service user; and
  • A waste of valuable resources and poor value for money.

For anyone interested in other practical good practice examples of co-production, you could start with these two useful collections of case studies:

We searched for specific examples of organisations working closely with the public to develop services that they actually need. Although the Cardiff event is fully booked (with places available in North Wales), you will be able to find all these good practice presentations on our website after the event.

Professor Tony Bovaird, Birmingham University, is our first speaker, who will look at practical examples of co-producing public outcomes that really matter:

We then found four great workshops:

  • Kerrine Phillips, Cardiff Third Sector Council, will talk about the Co-Creating Healthy Change portfolio of projects;
  • Simon Pickthall, Vanguard, will talk about practical examples of radically re-shaping services at a locality level;
  • Sally Church, Torfaen Leisure Trust and Jon Argent, GLL, will give a practical example of the role social enterprises can play in re-shaping services with the public; and
  • Alan Armstrong, Barod CIC, will run a practical workshop looking at power, control and clear information while working with the public.

Barod CIC will also be demonstrating a really practical example of how to work with the public on changing services – the Whispering Service. Barod specialise in making information easier to understand, and making meetings and events more inclusive. The Whispering Service is a simultaneous translation from “conference speak” into clear, everyday words. How do you ‘co-produce’ services with the public when you work with language and processes some may not understand?

For the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing a few blogs from these speakers, sharing their own experiences. We’ll also be sharing a whole bunch of links to other useful websites, case studies and resources on Twitter #ReshapeServices. You can also follow this hashtag to get involved in the conversation during our Re-Shaping Services with the Public seminar.

2 thoughts on “The search for practical examples of ‘co-production’

  1. Tom Haslam

    A great topic, very timely. Daily I see public services presented in ways that force citizens to navigate their way around the system. In many cases this assumes that citizens have a good understanding of ‘government’. We know this isn’t true, and should it be anyway? Do banks and online retailers force customers to act in this way? There is emerging evidence that private sector provision is raising citizens’ expectations of public services. There is some large scale change underway like .GOV in the UK and a similar exercise here in NZ. The two teams behind this are cooperating internationally. But new thinking needs to be much more widespread, hence the work that your post refers to. The time is ripe for service providers to redesign their services around the customer. This will involve cooperation and co-production. Redesign should result in a system that navigates for citizens in a seamless and unseen way. But the starting point to any improvement in this area must be to start from the customer’s viewpoint.

    1. Good Practice Exchange

      Thanks for your comment Tom – that’s a great point about how online retailers interact with their customers. Do you have a link to the work that’s happening in NZ so we can share it?

      Thanks again and have a good day,



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