We are celebrating SCIE’s National Co-production Week Monday 4 – Friday 8 July as the first national event of its kind showing the benefits of co-production, sharing good practice and highlighting the contribution of people who use services and carers to developing better public services.
So what is co-production?
Put simply, it is about working in an open, honest and transparent way with experts – be they service users, service providers, clinicians or GPs – to design or develop services which work for them all. The approach is built on the idea that those affected by a service are best placed to help design it whether as service users or providers.
Co-production offers the chance to transform social care and health provision to a model that offers people real choice, control and quality.
Here in Leeds Michelle Atkinson, commissioning manager, Adult Social Care, Leeds City Council tells us how co-production helped create a new approach to commissioning new ways to provide home care services being delivered from July 2016.
So what’s been happening in Leeds?
One example is the work on re-commissioning of Homecare in the city
Over the last two years Adult Social Care staff have been following co-production guidelines and working with service users and independent home care service providers to develop a new way of delivering home care services involving fewer provider organisations while still providing a service that users really benefit from.
Michelle said: “Typically most of the work with any service being re-commissioned is about consulting: with referring agents, service users and providers, as well as the wider range of stakeholders such as staff access and care, housing, procurement, NHS colleagues and others with an interest. A good commissioner knowsyou have to go out and listen to people.”
How did we get service users involved in the conversation?
Initially all 3,000 home care service users were contacted and invited to take part in the review of existing services. People were able to give feedback using questionnaires, face-to-face meetings, focus groups and a service user reference group which was established with the help of Leeds Involving People. The group met on a monthly basis to discuss the issues and challenges they faced.
Working with service users meant being able to zero in on the issues and then creating solutions. For example, people asked that the same member of staff would provide care and this could be checked using electronic call monitoring and making the dignity standards more personal. This feedback was used to develop the new service model.
How do you keep the conversation going?
We will continue to talk to service users to make sure the services they receive meet their changing needs.
In fact we asked Healthwatch Leeds, an independent body, to contact service users and check they were happy with the support they get and how they were receiving it.
How did we get service providers involved in the conversation?
We also established a ‘provider leadership group’ which initially met on a monthly basis and helped identify the issues, challenges and solutions providers faced. Again this led to a set of service standards being produced which helped with the development of the service model and specifications such as rates of pay and contracts and using locally based staff.
Over 100 providers of Leeds home care services were invited to discuss the potential options for the new home care model in the city before a final decision was made. We now have six primary providers and eight framework providers.
What happens next?
We keep talking to service users and providers and we encourage them to talk to each other. We keep learning, we keep improving!
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