Co-production – Doing things with residents not to residents

  • Co-production during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

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    Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, has released a statement about the council’s approach during the coronavirus crisis.

    Cllr Cowan talked about taking ‘a people first approach’ which means the council taking all the necessary actions and providing all the necessary resources to help keep people safe and able to cope during this challenging time.

    Even though things feel difficult and uncertain at the moment, we remain committed to finding ways of working together with residents to help us shape our services.

    Good community engagement is about better democratic participation, better services and better outcomes for communities in terms of having a greater say on local issues. Community engagement is even more important at the moment as many of us are having to work from home or self-isolate which can make it more difficult to get involved in shaping decisions that affect residents’ lives.

    We want to maintain our good track record of engaging residents in developing policies and shaping services through mechanisms such as the resident-led commissions, tenant and resident associations, Ward Action Groups and the Civic Campus development Disabled residents team, as well as online platforms Nextdoor and Commonplace, and we will continue to find ways to share how we are responding to the crisis and how we are working to keep all our residents well supported and safe.

    There is also now an opportunity for residents and local community groups to get involved via the H&F Community Aid Network

What is co-production?

Making decisions with Disabled residents not for Disabled residents, to bring to life our commitment to ‘doing things with residents not too residents’”

Co-production is about a new way of doing things together, and is about building a new partnership between the council and the wonderfully diverse community of Hammersmith & Fulham!

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Image caption: Image 1: The Co-production Implementation Group with Kim Smith, chief executive of H&F Council (far right)

Residents, councillors and council officers taking a co-produced approach to policy development and the design and delivery of community support and services will help the council bring to life our commitment.

The council’s commitment to co-producing policies and services with residents came from the recommendations set out in the Disabled People’s Commission (DPC) report published in June 2018.

A key and striking message that came out of the Disabled People’s Commission report is that Disabled residents are almost nowhere to be seen in making decisions about the support and services that affect their lives. So we will work with Disabled residents first to build an effective partnership for change.

When we talk about co-production we mean...

Local Disabled residents are working together with decision makers to actively identify, design, and evaluate policy decisions and service delivery that affect our lives and remove the barriers we face.”

Eight co-production recommendations for transforming public services came from the work of Hammersmith & Fulham Disabled People’s Commission, led by Disabled residents.

This has seen the setting up of a co-production implementation group (HFCIG) that includes Disabled residents, councillors and senior council officers to take forward making the recommendations a reality.

Changing the culture

We have set out to make sure ‘nothing about Disabled people without Disabled people’ is at the heart of decision making in relation to policy and practice in this unique and diverse borough.

Co-production is just a way to bring everyone together with the same aim of removing the barriers that stop our residents from living as equal residents in our community. To create a culture across the borough where ideas and activities about how co-production can flourish.

It's about getting people to feel confident - working together and included in changing the things that matter together.

Councillor Stephen Cowan, leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said:

Making decisions with Disabled residents not for Disabled residents, to bring to life our commitment to ‘doing things with residents not too residents’”

I had always thought about disability to be an issue of discrimination and rights. I understand that Disabled people need to take the lead in developing support and services to make sure that everyone can take part in society.”

We will only know it’s working when Disabled residents say that it is. We know it will be a big change for us all but everyone is excited about the real possibilities - it is not just another gimmick.

We are the first local authority in the country to commit to co-production across a whole council in this way.

Kim Smith, chief executive of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said:

Co-production must be one of our cornerstones of equality and inclusion. I'm really committed to supporting a whole new way of working with residents – one that truly respects diversity and lived experience.”

A Disabled resident said:

Co-production needs to be done across the board and, as scary as it sounds, it needs to be done in a big way.”

To help us make it happen we have set up a new group which will provide leadership to make co-production work, supporting its development cross the borough and supporting the work of the council.

Get in touch

Please get in touch with us to find out more about our work and how you can get involved.

Kevin Caulfield and Tara Flood
Strategic Lead Co-production (job share)
Public Services Reform Department (PSR)
Chief Executive’s Office
Hammersmith & Fulham Council

Or use our contact form:

Mobile and text: Kevin 07776 672 367 or Tara 07776 672 830

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