Did you know that this week is National Co-Production week? This is a celebration of the benefits of co-production, sharing good practice and working in equal partnership with each other to continuously improve. Here at Evolve, we are celebrating Co-Production week as working alongside our customers it is so important to us. We place our customers at the heart of our organisation and they play a huge part in shaping how our services are run. We employ a full-time Co-Production + Involvement Advisor to ensure our customers are involved in all decisions made by us.
Our customers can get involved in many ways. For example, we hold customer meetings at all our services at least once a month, where customers can give feedback and suggestions about how to improve their service. The suggestions are then taken forward and carried out by our staff and customers. We also gather customer feedback through an annual survey. The results of the survey are benchmarked against similar organisations and inform our team work plans.
Our customers can also train to become a customer champion, where they become a voice for their service as well as taking on more responsibility for its day-to-day running. We are extremely proud that all our services have at least one customer champion. Patrick, who was a customer champion at our Bromley serice said ‘the highlight of living here for me is being listened to and in turn listening to others, when someone shows genuine interest and trust in you, it helps you grow in confidence and you want to give back’.
We also invite our customers to sit on all our interview panels when we recruit new members of staff, as we believe their input is invaluable for hiring people who embody our values and beliefs. Customers assess interviewees alongside staff and the responsibility for appointing the right candidate is equally shared.
We produce a quarterly customer newsletter that welcomes customer contributions including poetry, interviews, recipes, artwork, photography etc.
One area of customer involvement that we are most proud of is our scrutiny panel, which seeks to improve the service that we offer to our customers on a strategic level. The panel completes two reports a year (past topics have included our complaints procedure, maintenance, anti-social behaviour and customer involvement itself). The panel leads focus groups, interviews, surveys and analyses performance data to understand how we could improve. The panel then presents their findings and recommendations to our Board and leadership team. All approved recommendations are then actioned and carried out.
Beatrice, who has taken part in a scrutiny panel said:
‘It’s been great to get involved with the customer scrutiny panel. We all bring something different to the table and as someone who has now moved on into independent living; I know how important the panel is for customers’.
On 5 September we are hosting ‘Evolve Fest’, an annual event which has been co-created by staff and customers. This is a chance for customers to meet senior levels of staff, celebrate their achievements by receiving awards, and try something new at a series of workshops and activities.
If you have been inspired by this article, please contact us to hear more about Co-Production week.
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If you would like to support our charity by fundraising or taking part in a challenge event, please see our fundraising page.
If you would like to help empower homeless people within your community, please see our volunteering page.