Co-production in social care: What it is and how to do it
Practice example: City and County of Swansea Council's Supported Living Framework
What we wanted to do
- Introduce co-production into the development of a new Supported Living Framework.
- This would be the first time we have co-produced the procurement process and as far as we are aware this is relatively unchartered territory for local authorities.
How did we do this?
- Existing 'Nothing about Us without Us (NAUWU)' Group worked alongside us to develop a set of strategic outcomes for people with a learning disability in Swansea.
- We did this by asking people 'what matters to you?'
- From the 'what matters' conversations, the NAUWU Group developed a set of outcomes which now form the basis of our Commissioning Strategy and the new Supported Living Specification.
- The NAUWU Group then surveyed approximately 160 people with a learning disability to ask them how current services were delivering the things that mattered to them.
- The results of this survey were analysed by the Group and it concluded that two issues needed further attention.
- These two issues became the method statements decided and managed by citizens in the Supported Living tender process.
- We negotiated with Commercial Services that citizens would have complete control over part of the tendering process (acting within procurement rules). This amounted to 10 per cent of the overall process.
- We also negotiated the approach and simplified the methodology and the paperwork. The NAUWU Group decided the approach and managed the involvement of a wider group of citizens.
- The NAUWU Group took the two issues which were prioritised through the survey and using the process they had developed, they held a workshop with approximately 100 people to develop a tool to evaluate provider submissions for their method statements.
- For each question they asked people:
- What would good look like? (visual thumbs up)
- What does ok look like? (visual thumbs sideways)
- What does not good look like? (visual thumbs down)
- From this gathering of information, the NAUWU Group developed model answers which they would use to evaluate all submissions to the Supported Living Framework.
- The NAUWU Group then organised four evaluation sessions with people who use a variety of learning disability services. Groups at each session were supported by impartial staff to go through each submission and evaluate them against the criteria they have produced. We made sure that no one who receives a service from a provider whose bid was being evaluated was involved in that evaluation. People were supported to take an evidence-based approach to the evaluation so people had to back up why they had scored providers in the way they did.
- The scores and supporting comments were written up by the NAUWU Group and passed onto commissioning staff.
What worked well and what would we do differently?
- We asked people for feedback on the evaluation sessions and we will process this information to consider changes to how we did this.
- We know already that people would have benefitted from having more time to evaluate the tenders.
- We also know already that video submissions tended to be easier for people to process.
- People liked the thumbs - it was very straightforward and visual.
- The systematic approach worked well - linking the outcomes, how providers were currently delivering them and then applying this to the Supported Living tender supported people to see a more holistic context for their input.
- The NAUWU Group is going to consider all the outcomes that were co-produced and over the course of the next year, it will hold more workshops with people with a learning disability to hold the 'what good looks like', 'what ok looks like' and 'what bad looks like' in relation to all of them. The intention is to develop a peer-led Monitoring Framework for use in all our in-house and commissioned services.
- We will apply this learning across services.
What was the impact of this approach?
- Voice and Control for citizens.
- A direct dialogue between citizens and service providers which supports accountability of providers to people who access their services as well as accountability to commissioners.
- An enriched procurement process.
- A focus on what really matters for people with a learning disability.
- It has provided a platform for the development of a co-produced Quality Monitoring Framework.
- Increased the skills of citizens in the art of procurement.
- Increased the skills of officers in understanding how to engage and work alongside the people who the service is being procured for.
- Achieving a successful and innovative co-produced approach that can be applied to other areas within the council.
All SCIE resources are free to download, however to access some of the following downloads you will need a free MySCIE account:
- Co-production in social care: What it is and how to do it (Guide)
- Co-production in social care: What it is and how to do it (Easy read)