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Co-production – Deciding Together

This approach to influence and participation allows an equal and reciprocal relationship between staff and people with lived experience in designing and delivering activities, projects, or services.

Effective co-production is grounded in the principles of accessibility, diversity, equality and reciprocity (or getting something back for putting something in).

There are many definitions of Co-Production. This one, from Involve, provides a helpful statement explaining the concept:

"The term Co-production refers to a way of working where service providers and users work together to reach a collective outcome. The approach is value-driven and built on the principle that those who are affected by a service are best placed to help design it."

Co-production can help to challenge the notion that people with lived experience – traditionally, those who have used services – cannot participate on an equal level with people in professional roles. It can be an extremely effective way for people with lived experience to be able to influence change.

Find out more about co-production at Mind and access resources in the 'Co-production festival' guide.

Case study: Peerfest

Peerfest is an example of successful co-production. Each year, different groups of people with lived experience have responsibility for planning, shaping and delivering the overall event. Read more...

Case study: Norfolk and Suffolk Recovery College

Norfolk and Suffolk recovery college coproduced a course with Szara Froud, a mental health professional, and Anastacia, who has bipolar disorder. This is their story. Read more...

Things to consider:

  • Is the balance of power genuinely equal in the decision making? To be called co-production, there must be a genuinely equal and reciprocal relationship between staff and people with lived experience and recognition that all contributions are valuable.
  • Are there mutually agreed on responsibilities and expectations?
  • Are you able to support people to take part in the development process and subsequent delivery? How will you do this?
  • Can you commit to service users playing an equal role in delivery? If not, you may want to use a co-design method.

Find out more about co-production and access resources and case studies in the 'Carrying out influence and participation activities: Co-production' section.

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