Co-production should be both straightforward and challenging. We should be outside our comfort zones, moving away from 'us' and 'them' and working towards 'we'. Read what Fiona McLaughlin has to share on what makes co-production work.
I am a patient, a former carer and a volunteer. I spend more time than I could ever have imagined possible, thinking, talking and writing about how the Northern Ireland health system works. Sometimes I get heard. Somtimes I get cross.
A huge talking point and area for development these days is "co-production". Its all part of the Delivering Together agenda that our politicians agreed on before they decided to disagree on other things.
Co-production should be straightforward and challenging. We should be outside our comfort zones, moving away from "us" and "them" and working towards "we".
A bit like Pilates, if we're not uncomfortable sometimes we're not doing it right. It requires all of us to work differently and, ultimately, to produce better results for all.
Co-production is where power is shared, different expertise and experiences are valued and considered in the development and delivery of public services, and trust and partnership working are at the core to improve outcomes.
It will only work if there is a fundamental recognition of the power relationships that accompany the process.
We should remember:
We each have our own experiences. We may have been bruised by previous engagements with 'them'. Trust doesn't develop easily, and wishing won't make it so.
We need to deliberately build relationships based on openness, transparency and shared decision-making.
Co-production has the potential to transform our health and social care systems for the better. The same people, continuing to talk to each other in closed spaces, will not be co-production.
Bringing new people 'to the table' is not enough. We need to move the table and encourage everyone to join in as equal partners.
Of course its challenging. Everything worthwhile is.
Do you have any examples of when co-productioin has worked well and when it hasn't?
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