Home' Community Care Review : CCR May-Jun 2015 Contents "Consumer engagement and co-
production are both ways of involving
people," says Cooper-Ueki. "Engagement
tends to refer to involving people in part
of a process, such as finding out people's
views about a service or asking about a
change or decision that service managers
have decided should take place, but then
designing changes without further input.
"Co-production refers to working together
throughout an entire change process, with
individuals who may also use services as
equal partners in designing, implementing
and reviewing change. It emphasises that
the people who use services have assets
which can improve those services, including
expertise and skills, rather than simply
having needs to be met."
Co-production is a simple idea and
happens naturally all around us. Anywhere
people, communities or organisations with
different expertise come together to work on
something can be called co-production. Yet
co-producing services with consumers as a
group with expertise is currently not widely
practised in the Australian aged care sector.
"For many years, people have been used
to taking what is given. Many individuals
and families may have been grateful for any
level of support offered, and not thought to
question whether they had choice or control
over what that support looked like. For
this reason, an organisation or service may
need to take the lead in offering people the
chance to be involved in co-production,"
FOCUS ON AIMS, VALUES
For many providers, taking the lead and
initiating co-production is a daunting task.
Even though the idea is simple, putting it
into practice is not. Start with the aims,
"It is worth considering the reasons
behind wanting to make a move to
genuinely include people in decisions which
affect them. These may stem from an ethical
stance or a practical one, or both. The
former asserts that we see people as equals
and as experts and that it is the right thing
to do to include them. The second reflects
a recognition that the outcomes of changes
implemented are much more likely to serve
well those they are meant to benefit when
we really understand what it is they want
and need. An organisation can consider
where they stand on the values and the
practicalities of co-production to help them
plan what they want to do first."
Being clear on the purpose behind the
co-production of service design and delivery
gives an organisation a strong foundation
to drive a cultural shift. This may be
necessary if people within the organisation
have become comfortable in the current
processes for service design.
"Organisations' values and beliefs are
tied up within the organisational culture,"
says Cooper-Ueki. "Some organisations may
feel their staff genuinely believe in and value
the worth of individuals they support and
make use of their assets. Many organisations
will have some or more resistance within
their staff who may feel they know best
what individuals need, and that decision
making should be associated with authority.
Addressing cultural issues where they
exist requires strong leadership and role
modelling to demonstrate how individuals
and their families or carers are valued."
The perception that everything needs
to be overhauled at once is daunting.
Co-production can be implemented in
simple ways and allowed to slowly grow
through your organisational practices. The
practicality of co-production doesn't have
to be a mammoth obstacle, she says.
"Considering the practical side of co-
producing change requires organisations
to find out how best people can be
involved. Asking people what would work
for them and who wants to get involved
is usually a good start. I saw a simple and
practical example of co-production in
action when I visited a service supporting
people with dementia near Melbourne.
They had asked people what they wanted
to do there, what skills and resources they
already had, and enabled them to use the
space and support available to develop
their own garden project. Staff acted as
supporters and enablers, co-facilitating
the change with people rather than setting
the agenda. There was no additional time,
money or other resource required to co-
produce this service as it made use of the
skills and knowledge brought by all those
involved. And yet for those involved it was
much more enjoyable and meaningful than
taking part in activities which were already
The important thing is to begin. Talk
to your consumers and find out how they
can and want to contribute, says Cooper-
Ueki. "Practical and cultural changes often
go hand in hand. By showing that people
can be partners in change through trying it
out, people see the value of including and
listening. The whole culture gradually shifts
to value each individual for who they are
and how they contribute."
Home Care Today, a government-funded
initiative of COTA Australia, is a national
resource that support both consumers and
home care providers to work together to
implement consumer direction in home
Home Care Today is supporting
service providers in co-producing their
services with their consumers. It has
awarded three organisations with small
grants for co-production action research
projects focussing on CDC service model
development. The projects are underway
and Home Care Today will be following them
using an action research approach with a
view to sharing learnings with the sector.
CommunityWest and COTA are also
initiating a co-production approach to
services transitioning to a reablement
approach to service delivery and are
seeking pilot sites for this approach in
2015-16. Go to communitywest.com.au for
more information. n
Ronda Held is manager of Home Care
Today. Videos from Cooper Ueki's
Australian workshops last year are
available at homecaretoday.org.au.
• Older people are involved
throughout the process - from the
beginning to the end.
• Older people feel safe to speak up
and are listened to.
• We work on the issues that are
important to older people.
• It is clear how decisions are made.
• Older people's skills and experiences
are used in the process of change.
• Meetings, materials and venues are
accessible for older people.
• Progress is evaluated through
looking at the actual changes in
older people's lives.
SOURCE: The UK's National
Development Team for Inclusion
Co-production can be implemented in simple
ways and allowed to slowly grow through your
aaa community care review | 33
Links Archive CCR MAY 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page