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    • Independent report released on our co-production process
  • Independent report released on our co-production process

  • Date Posted: June 26, 2018
  • 3 minutes read


This week we’re pleased to share the findings of a report by the University of Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research, looking at our co-production approach.

It’s an interesting read, with a mixture of feedback about our steering group process. The researchers concluded:

Overall, taking all members reflections into account; the professional application process; the selection of diverse and competent individuals; a driven approach by volunteers and a focused facilitation process, the organisation has produced as excellent an example of ‘People driven digital’ that the commissioned scope and budget would allow.

Some of the quotes covered the key successes of our approach:

  • Members of the group felt valued, and the work felt important: “I felt a sense of ownership. And pride. It is a big thing and it felt important”, “I think it was genuine co-production…It felt like an important thing, reaching 1000’s of people and getting them the right information about what to do”
  • There was positive feedback about the group environment: “In a team you have others to check the work. There’s a safety in that. It’s not single minded or narrow in focus. The group helps avoid that mistake”, “I knew a few people on the group beforehand but I have networked a lot more now.”
  • And people were satisfied with the results: “Usually it’s tokenism…let’s drag out a service user (to speak/take part)…This was very practical. We had real tasks and could see the actual benefits”

And there was some really useful thoughts on what could be done better in future:

  • Some people were put off by commissioners being in the room, and felt there needed to be more flexibility with the project as a whole: “There was a power imbalance, it was always there”,  “There wasn’t the budget to do what we wanted really…so it wasn’t a whole project…no budget for a full overhaul…it was more of a clean-up which was a little restrictive.” 

ScHARR’s recommendations were: It may be useful in future projects to establish member’s expectations for the co-design process and acknowledge and document such frustrations as they arise. This could help make the case for increased budgets in the future.

  • There were frustrations over not being able to redesign the Urgent Help section: “There are things we wanted to redesign…the need urgent help button…its  standard NHS one across all Sheffield websites but its rubbish. It would push you over the edge to press it and see what appears. We wanted to redesign it but the Council said no. We have to compromise”

We’re pleased to say this is now in the process of being developed, after running a public co-design session!

  • And sometimes it was hard to get voices heard: “I enjoyed it but I am shy and maybe I should speak up louder. Sometimes conversations moved on before I could add my thoughts.”

ScHARR’s recommendations were: If possible, it could be advantageous to allow members a cooling off period of, for example 48 hours, in order to email any further thoughts or points that they failed to raise in the meetings in order for some less vocal members of the group to have a role in steering the direction of the co-design process.

It’s worth having a read through the report if you’re interested in co-production, learning and improving. We’re continuing to develop the site, so will take these thoughts on board as we bring the project forward.

Thanks again to the Steering Group for all their help!

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