By Nadia Brookes, ARC KSS Co-production Theme Lead

We thought National Co-production Week (5-9 July) would be a good time to reflect on co-production and the Applied Research Collaboration Kent Surrey and Sussex (ARC KSS).  Co-production is an awkward bit of jargon for an important concept that is not always well defined or understood.  One view might be that co-production has always been there under the different guises of user involvement, engagement, participation and consultation but whilst all these serve a purpose these are not about true power sharing – the key feature of co-production.

Our goal is to co-produce research and implement change in equal partnership with people living in the region, service providers, commissioners and researchers. Ultimately, we want to help shape a local health and social care system that meets the needs of everyone together. There is a lot of co-production occurring across KSS but still further to go.

Where there’s a will there’s a way

We have reason to be optimistic. One example of the appetite across the region to push co-production forward is the results of a survey of health and social care researchers across KSS at the end of 2020. This showed that co-production was:

  • 3rd in the top 10 of areas of interest, and
  • 2nd in the top 10 of learning and development requested.

In response to this, a day dedicated to co-production and public and community involvement and engagement is planned as part of a KSS Academy Research Week (Tuesday 13 July). Further details here.

We have also produced other resources: pdf a guide to co-production (1.03 MB) ; pdf a collection of systematic reviews (374 KB) ; and pdf a quick reference leaflet (169 KB) .

A co-productive future

The co-production theme will continue to support and enhance co-production across the ARC KSS. In the next 12 months, we will have started working with specific projects across our themes to focus our work and learn lessons for future co-production activities within the ARC and beyond. A key goal is to publicise, share and celebrate successful co-production activities. 

In 2017, the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) – who started National Co-production Week - collected co-production commitment pledges. Living and working across the region, we all have a part to play. What one thing will you do in 2021 to support co-production as an organisation or individual?

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