Co-productionCo-production; how can we move from passive recipients of services to engaged co-creators? How can we change from services done to/for to services done with/by customers?

This is our Strategic Solution consultancy report on co-production.

In times of austerity strategies which may enable both more responsive and differentiated services, and lower costs are too important to ignore. It’s time to take a fresh look at the possibilities and potential.

“The notion of co-production, initially dismissed as jargon that featured only in the lexicon of aspiring ministers and seasoned ’think tankers’, has become part of the new consensus about future approaches to public service reform”[1]

Co-production from passive recipients to engaged

Co-production encourages us to think very differently about the relationship between customer, services and the professionals engaged in delivering them. Co-production sees the customer as an asset with expertise and capability.  It holds the possibility of improving public service quality by bringing in the expertise of the service user, and often of their families and communities as well.  In doing so, it can enable both more differentiated services and more choice.  It also raises the possibility that co-production can make public services more responsive to users, a key element of customer driven services.

With such potential it is a topic relevant to the debate of managing public services with constrained resources, and therefore timely to explore the issues:

  • Defining co-production – what it is and what it isn’t
  • Where does the idea come from?
  • More than engagement or participation
  • The changing nature of services: from to/for towards with/by services
  • What makes co-production relevant now?
  • How can you characterise co-production?
  • Balancing professional and customer involvement
  • Where can co-production work? What kinds of services are likely to benefit most from co-production?
  • The core economy: the lost, hidden, undervalued and ignored economy
  • An idea whose time has come?
  • Making co-production mainstream

The challenge will be to harness the potential, especially when resources are constrained and often reduced. The hidden resources of the core economy are too significant to ignore.

[1].The Journey to the Interface: How Public Service Design Can Connect Users to Reform, Parker and Heapy  Demos(2006)