Co-production in social care: What it is and how to do it

Practice example: Oxfordshire County Council’s Co-production Programme

About this project

In this instance, we are talking about a programme, not a project. The Co-production Programme is about embedding co-production in Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) so it becomes the way the Council works.

In 2016, OCC decided it wanted to embed co-production into its processes and practice, so asked SCIE for support with how to do this. SCIE ran four workshops –initially with people working at OCC, and people who use services. In the last workshop, the group agreed on seven main shifts that OCC would need to implement to make it a more co-productive place to work.

These shifts were:

In September 2017, OCC started a co-production team and the programme has been running ever since. Oxfordshire has a history of co-production, and in some parts of the Council too. But this was the first time senior leadership within the Council had made such a big commitment to it, and invested in it becoming embedded as a way of working.

What has helped in implementing a co-production approach?

In addition to the seven shifts outlined above (see ‘About the project’), all of which were adopted, the following have been crucial to the implementation and spreading of co-production within the Council:

What difficulties have there been in implementing co-production?

Some of the barriers to co-production that have been faced:

What have been the main outcomes of the project?

The programme is ongoing, but work done so far has been evaluated by SCIE. Highlights from the report and from information gathered by the co-production team include:

How has the project worked to engage all sections of the community?

Co-designing the four main aims of the programme:

We do this in a number of ways, for example:

What advice would you give to others?

In addition to the points above, OCC’s Co-production Handbook pools all experience and learning to date.

SCIE’s recommendations in its evaluation report for what should happen next are also useful for anyone trying to implement this kind of programme:


All SCIE resources are free to download, however to access some of the following downloads you will need a free MySCIE account:

Available downloads: