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

What is co-production - The link with personalisation

Co-production has developed over a similar time period as ideas around services that are person-centred. And some have said that co-production is essential to making services more personalised. [2]

Ideas around personalisation go back to the 1970s and the beginnings of the independent living movement. At this time, disabled people started to challenge the expectation that they should live in institutions and to assert a right to be able to live in the community.

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New organisations run by disabled people such as the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation were formed. These organisations set out to fundamentally change how social care was delivered – from a system driven by services to one where people decided for themselves how their support needs would be met. [33]

Approaches developed by disabled people and the independent living movement have become central to social care services, with person-centred planning developing into personalisation. [2] The development of personalised services has seen governments of all of the major political parties commit themselves to involving people more directly in the services they use as well as taking responsibility for costs and risks. Various initiatives in England and Wales have emphasised the need for people to be able to choose and manage how their needs for support are met. Examples are:

People who use services and carers being part of the co-production of the service they receive on an individual basis is a prominent feature of personalisation [36]. Examples of this include direct payments and individual budgets. Some see this as the most common form of co-production. [37] They draw a distinction between individual co-production and collective co-production where people work together on community issues.


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