Reasons to be (very very) cheerful


Launch of a member-led Co-production Network for Wales!

…to help transform our public services by embedding co-production as the primary approach to commissioning, design, delivery and evaluation in Wales.

[let trumpets sound / maidens swoon / lambs caper / hearts lift / joy be unbounded]

At some point over the past three years YOU helped to make this happen.

You might have signed a petition, written a letter of support, persuaded a colleague, researched a report, commented on the proposal, attended an event, given a presentation, organised a workshop, bought us a cuppa, encouraged us or inspired us. Many of you simply got on with it and, against all the odds, made co-production a reality.

The Co-production Network for Wales is the result. The Lottery are funding us – Cartrefi Cymru, Co-production Wales, WCVA – for three years (subject to confirmation). And it simply wouldn’t have happened without you. Heartfelt thanks from us all.

So what’s next? Step one is to recruit two exceptional members of staff – a Network Director and a Network Co-ordinator. Step two is to co-create an active, mutually-supportive community of practice, able to inspire, energise and influence others. Then we change the world – starting with Wales. The outline proposal is here if you want to know more.

This is a mammoth task (an understatement!) and we can’t do it alone. As individuals we are relatively powerless. Collectively we are unstoppable. Please continue to help us by: alerting colleagues to the two staff posts; and talking to managers, colleagues and those you support about joining the Network. We’ll get the advertisements for the two members of staff out asap, and the membership drive will begin as soon as they are in post.

Thank you for everything. You are individually and collectively fab!



And there’s more… [yay verily, once more let trumpets sound / maidens swoon / lambs caper / hearts lift / joy be unbounded]. You probably know about most of this but it’s worth reminding ourselves what’s already been achieved:

1. Social Services & Well-being Act (Wales)

Draft regulations (working document)

“The Regulations and code of practice will provide clarity and direction for local authorities in fulfilling the duty, which is about encouraging the growth and development of new business models, shifting the market balance away from a reliance on the private sector to grow the range of not-for-profit models in the social care sector. This will increase the diversity of provision available and embed the principles of co-production into service delivery. This will ensure an approach which:

  • Recognises people as assets, and as having a positive contribution to make to the design and operation of services.
  • Supports and empowers people to get involved with the design and operation of services.
  • Empowers people to take responsibility for, and contribute to, their own well-being.
  • Ensures that practitioners work in partnership with people to achieve well-being outcomes at an individual and service level.
  • Involves people in designing outcomes for services.”

2. Principles of prudent healthcare

Any service or individual providing a service should:

  • achieve health and wellbeing with the public, patients and professionals as equal partners through co-production
  • care for those with the greatest health need first, making the most effective use of all skills and resources
  • do only what is needed, no more, no less; and do no harm
  • reduce inappropriate variation using evidence based practices consistently and transparently.

3. Well-being of Future Generations Act

The term ‘co-production’ is not used within the legislation but the principles are closely related to co-pro aims and aspirations. The Act is now at the draft regulations and code stage. The ‘Principles for working with communities’ (below) are directly linked to the Act.

4. Principles for working with communities

” Welsh Government has set out the principles which, it believes, should underpin work with communities. The Principles acknowledge previous and traditional models, along with levels of service, will not be possible in the future. Furthermore, they recognise Welsh Government’s powers and their limitations, the need to empower communities and develop new relationships to deliver what is required going forward, and contribute to the seven well-being goals in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. From Welsh Government’s perspective, the Principles for Working with Communities include:

  • the involvement of communities, service users and organisations in defining problems and in the identification, design, delivery and evaluation of new approaches,
  • recognition of shared responsibility to improve public services focused on outcomes and people’s needs,
  • mutual respect for the contributions of different partners in the process of designing and delivering services and improving outcomes, recognising roles will vary,
  • valuing diversity and promoting equality,
  • processes designed to recognise there are resources, capabilities and assets not just within public services but in communities too and ways should be found to release these and realise their potential to increase wellbeing,
  • readiness to adopt and invest in new ways of working in policy and delivery
  • transparency regarding how and by whom decisions will be taken.

The affirmation by Welsh Government of the Principles for Working with Communities, signals an intention to harness the skills and experience of community groups and service users alongside public services. The Welsh Government’s Principles offer an opportunity to build trust, empower communities and develop a culture change within organisations and communities. The Principles and the approach they represent, will help build resilient communities, foster community well-being and support the agenda for community activism helping to combine community activity with strengthening public service delivery, for current and future generations.”

5. Wales Audit Office: A Picture of Public Services 2015

A comprehensive and authoritative overview, with lots to cheer about amongst the angst. Section 3.25 onwards discusses the need for new approaches – co-production features strongly.

6. Seeing is Believing – co-production catalogue from Wales

This was launched by the Health Minister in December. We hope to keep adding new case studies and people’s stories as evidence of the transformative impact that co-production can have on individuals, communities and services. Heartwarming stuff!

Doubtless there’s more. Please let us know if you are involved in any co-pro initiatives and we’ll share it with the world.

Onwards and upwards!


About Ruth

UK National Teaching Fellow, Founder of Co-production Wales (All in this Together), co-pro trainer and consultant, working to make co-production 'the way we do things' in Wales. And having a ball!

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