Co-production: what is it and why do we need it?

How do you run housing services that reflect the views and requirements of over 1000 people? One answer is co-production.

What does co-production mean?

When we say co-production, we mean our staff and our residents working together on every aspect of our services – how they run, what they offer and even how they look. Co-production means direct collaboration between people from every part of the organisation, to ensure that what we are doing is working for everyone.

Why is co-production important?

To truly support the people staying with us, our services must reflect their experiences, aspirations and goals. To do that their voices must be heard, and they must be equal partners in our decision-making. We cannot build the best service by imposing ideas top-down. Instead, they must come from everyone.

What does co-production actually look like?

  • We are fostering co-production across the organisation in lots of ways – in fact, there are too many to list in full here! However, some examples include:
  • Be-Involved Meetings: these are bi-monthly meetings open to anyone staying at Evolve. They are a place to provide feedback on our services, and opinions on the work we are doing. Each service also does its own version of these every month.
  • Scrutiny panel: made up of people staying with us, the scrutiny panel monitors the actions that are decided at the Be-Involved meetings and makes recommendations to our Leadership team on policy.
  • Equality, diversity, and inclusion initiatives: these ensure that all voices and perspectives are heard. Initiatives include our Women’s strategy group, which is open to any woman at Evolve and provides a monthly forum to discuss anything they wish in a safe space, a Men’s group, and our race action plan.
  • Breakfast, lunch and wellbeing clubs: held at each service, these provide a more informal way for service-users to come together each week, speak to staff, and provide feedback or ask questions.
  • Interviewing: residents can attend interview training, equipping them to get involved with the recruitment of Evolve staff. We now have a process which ensures their representation in all interviews.

What does success look like?

Co-production has lots of really exciting potential to improve every element of how services run.

Successful co-production would mean that lots of residents are taking part in collaborative activities across Evolve. It would mean that services are co-led by people in them, and that each service has a leadership group made up of those who use the services and those that work there.

It would mean that people we support have lots of clear routes to make their voices heard, and that they are represented within the senior management team and the board. Ultimately, it would mean that residents contribute to decision-making about Evolve, our work and our direction.

If we can make these things a reality, we will know that what we are doing truly reflects the views and experiences of those we work with.

If you want to know more about what co-production looks like, read our strategy here.

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