The term Co-production refers to a way of working where service providers and users, work together to reach a collective outcome. The approach is value-driven and built on the principle that those who are affected by a service are best placed to help design it.
Co-production is an approach to decision-making and service design rather than a specific method. It stems from the recognition that if organisations are to deliver successful services, they must understand the needs of their users and engage them closely in the design and delivery of those services.
Co-production rejects the traditional understanding of service users as dependents of public services, and instead redefines the service/ user relationship as one of co-dependency and collaboration. Just like users need the support from public services, so service providers need the insights and expertise of its users in order to make the right decisions and build effective services. In practice, it means that those who are affected by a service are involved at every stage of the process between design and delivery. It is often essential to support the participants and professionals throughout the exercise to ensure that they are able to contribute on an equal footing, e.g. by providing information, training, mentoring, etc.
• Those involved in Co-production should be those on the end of an issue/service, meaning the service providers and users.
• Expenses depend on the length of the process, the number of participants and the level of pay/remuneration given to the participants.
Approximate time expense
• Co-production is time-intensive, as it means involving and supporting users at every stage of the decision-making process.
• Taps into the insights and expertise of those who are at the receiving end of public services
• Enables users/citizens and professionals/politicians to work together as equals and learn from each other
• Builds skills, confidence and aspiration among participants
• Difficult to manage well when dealing with larger groups
• Can appear exclusive and unrepresentative to those users/residents who are not invited to take part
• Requires a considerable time commitment on the part of both professionals and participants
The term Co-production emerged in the United States in the 1970s and was developed by Edgar Cahn, a civil rights lawyer and speechwriter for Robert Kennedy.
Involve or New Economics Foundation
Build skills and capacity of participants
Generate new ideas (innovation)
Create a shared vision amongst participants
Reach consensus and overcome conflict
Make a direct decision
Number of participants
Self selected participants attending as individuals (open access process)
Representatives of wider interest groups (stakeholders)
Level of awareness and interest
participants know about some aspects/can roughly articulate some interest
participants are well informed and can articulate their interests
Crime and justice
Culture and arts
Environment and climate change
Health and well-being
Housing and Planning
Science and technology
Limit search to...
... face to face processes
Level of involvement
Children and young people
Ethnic minority groups
Groups with low levels of literacy/confidence
People with learning difficulties