Co-production: Shaping the future in Kirklees

Featured article - 13 May 2019
Amanda Evans - Service Director for Adult Social Care Operations

In 2018, Kirklees Council undertook a review of the care offer for Adult Social Care in Kirklees in order to support a strengths based approach to care in line with national best practice recommendations. To support this work, the Council began drafting a policy and guidance about direct payments for adult carers. We invited carers to give their views on the documents, suggest changes and point out any issues with the wording and content. As a result of this co-design work the documents improved dramatically.

This raised some important questions for Senior Management - how could we involve citizens in other prospective areas of work?

Making it Real

We decided to aspire towards genuine co-production for emerging projects in Adult Social Care in partnership with people who have lived experience of social care. We wanted to work with people to shape the future of care in Kirklees today, for a better social care system tomorrow.

As part of this, we undertook a desktop review of best practice examples and we came across the co-production toolkit provided by Think Local Act Personal within their Making it Real framework. This recommends that organisations embarking upon the co-production journey conduct a self-reflection exercise, to help understand attitudes to co-production among staff.

A series of events titled Shaping the Future were held which allowed us to present this self-reflection exercise about co-production to a large cohort of our staff.

Findings from staff self-reflection

These Shaping the Future events helped discover that staff recognised and subscribed to key factors for co-production success such as:

  • recognising it is within their job description to help people to support each other
  • recognising that not only paid staff have skills and expertise
  • staff should not feel that they have all the answers.

These were welcome attitudes, and we were confident that staff were ready for us to embark on a co-production journey.

A co-productive future

As a result of these sessions, we recommended that our vision on co-production would be defined and communicated to staff, so that all are fully informed of its importance. We also wanted successful co-production activities to be publicised, shared and celebrated, with events to act as a forum.

We are currently exploring how the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) might help with the next phase of Kirklees’ co-production journey after getting lots of insights from attending their Advanced Co-Production training, where we also shared learning from our co-production journey so far.

We hope that in future, citizens will share power with the Council in determining how care and support should be delivered within Kirklees. We want the Council to become an enabler - rather than a traditional direct provider of services - that places people who use our services at the heart of what we do.

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