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Assessing co-production impact

29 May 2024

By Daniel Jupp Kina and Tasnim Rahman, SCIE Research Analysts

In social care and beyond, demonstrating the impact of projects and services is increasingly more important not only to understand the value of such initiatives but also to keep funders interested in providing much-needed support. In co-production this is no different. Despite the known importance of demonstrating impact, recent research has shown that not enough co-production initiatives have been able to systematically demonstrate impact.

People who draw on care, social care workers, and leaders are consistently highlighting the positive changes that co-production makes, and this becomes even clearer when we listen to individuals about the benefits of co-production on their lives and on the services they rely on. However, the low availability of accessible frameworks can be a barrier to reporting impact in systematic ways to help inform funders’ decision-making and make co-production a priority.

Young girl with adult carer on laptop

Supporting impact assessment in co-production

Based on this need, SCIE has developed a resource to support groups and organisations to identify and report the impacts of co-production. The resource offers a more accessible approach based on the Theory of Change with top-level guidance and definitions of key terms accompanied by a suggested template and an easy-read summary to support the involvement of people with lived experience in the impact assessment process.

How was it developed?

The resource is currently funded by the DHSC and is organised by research analysts Daniel Jupp Kina and Tasnim Rahman who worked along with Active Prospects and SCIEFliers co-production groups to shape the resource. A steering group formed by people with lived experience was responsible for making key decisions throughout the project.

What have we learned and how has this shaped our approach?

A literature review and interviews with people with lived experience and co-production workers were undertaken to support the definition of an approach for this resource. Some of the key learning included:

  • Not enough groups and organisations are reporting the impacts of co-production in their work and on people’s lives. More could be done to demonstrate the importance of prioritising and resourcing co-production.
  • Impact is defined in a variety of ways, and it can be confusing to identify impact if we are not clear on what we are looking for.
  • Understanding impact is complicated and often the approaches and tools available are not easy to use. Language, accessibility, and complexity are key challenges.
  • There is more focus on short-term outcomes than on long-term impact.

With these (and other) messages in mind, we developed an approach that:

  • Offers clear definitions and simple explanations.
  • Is flexible and can be tailored to different types of projects and needs.
  • Provides a breakdown of the journey towards impact.
  • Signposts to useful publications and resources for further guidance.
  • Provides a template and an easy-read summary.

Access the resource to see how we translated these principles into practice.

What is next?

The project is now entering a test phase and we are looking to work with local authorities and local organisations to pilot test the resource. If you are interested in taking part or would like to provide any feedback on the resource, please contact Daniel or Tasnim at

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