There is an increasing interest in co-production across public services and the private and third sector. Additionally, particularly in Wales politicians from all the major parties have displayed an increasing interest in this approach. While this interest is partly motivated by the pressure to cut costs it is also indicative of the widespread acknowledgement that the citizen and service user has a vital role in achieving positive outcomes from both public policy and public services.
Although there has been this growing interest in co-production as a key concept in many spheres of public policy research there has not been a corresponding critical analysis of what the term means and indeed it often appears that it means different things to different people in different settings. If utilised effectively it has the potential to make an important contribution to both the development and implementation of many areas of public research but at the same time if used insensitively can lead to further alienation for disengaged groups and feelings of “tokenism”.
The basis of coproduction is in essence that researchers, practitioners and service users need to work together to develop effective approaches to address identified issues. However, getting it to work effectively in practice is rarely straightforward or simple. At its most basic when it comes to a co-productive approach in most cases there are unequal power distributions which means developing an effective co-production strategy poses certain challenges that need to be overcome. This series of workshops will provide an introduction to the co-production approach and will then provide case studies of how co-production has been put into practice. This will provide participants to consider the challenges inherent in developing a co-productive approach and the opportunity to hear from and discuss with those who have been involved in developing co-produced approaches in real life settings the realities of putting it in to practice. In the spirit of co-production these sessions will be delivered by both academics and community development practitioners who have been involved in delivering co-produced initiatives.
Session2: Experiments in co-production
This session will reflect on the earlier session and use examples and discussions from participants in co-productiveinitiatives to explore how to:
- Ensure quality and rigor in CoPro
- Develop new models of CoPro to change the way social science research is framed and undertaken.
- Provide concrete examples of co-productive research the challenges that they have posed and how these have been overcome
- The different perspectives on the CoPro approach from both academic and other stakeholders