2 Making personalisation happen: Co-production
Personalisation is about enabling individuals and groups to identify and achieve their own solutions. As you saw in the last section, personalisation requires new ways of working that break down barriers and power imbalances between the people who provide services (social workers, doctors, support workers, personal assistants, nurses) and the children and adults who use services. The term ' co-production ' is being used to describe this new kind of relationship:
Co-production emphasises doing things 'with people' as opposed to doing things 'to people' or 'for people'. It is strengths-based, recognising that all children, parents and other adults have skills, knowledge and experience they can contribute.
Co-production involves breaking down the barriers between people who use and people who provide services.
Co-production is important because it is one way to achieve real change in the ways that we think about and deliver health, social care and other services. It involves creating more collaborative and equal relationships between people, relationships in which service users and carers, as well as professionals, have the power to make things happen.
This section will explore the links between personalisation, co-production, social capital and self-directed support. One way to visualise the relationship between these concepts is to think of personalisation as the direction of travel for care and support services, and self-directed support as one of many kinds of vehicles on the road towards that goal of personalisation. 'Co-production' can be seen as the fuel that drives this move towards personalisation: we can only reach more personalised approaches through collaborative approaches and breaking down the barriers between service users and professionals. Getting the vehicle on the road in the first place is not only about service users and professionals, but about all the people that are involved in each service user's life: their 'social capital' derived from the collective power of family, friends and wider community.
Co-production is not only about how individual professionals and service users collaborate. We all have relationships and networks – of family, friends, neighbours and colleagues, for example – which involve mutual trust and a willingness to help each other out in all sorts of ways. These networks are sometimes described as our ‘ social capital ’, in contrast to the 'financial capital' that allows us to buy necessities such as food, accommodation and warmth.
All these words can get a little confusing. Figure 2 provides a quick summary of key concepts referred to in this introduction. You may want to come back to these definitions as you work through the course (see also the Glossary ).