My co-production and other stories

It’s been a year since I started writing about all the co-production that’s going on across the UK and it’s been a real awakening for me. I knew, from my own limited travels, that the appetite for change was growing but when your radar is tuned to new stories and ideas, they come gushing. The shifting landscape is no longer a tentative step into the icy unknown; it’s a snowball and it’s snowballing.

So I’ve been thinking about the highlights of my year. Those stories that have particularly resonated for me and why. It’s not been easy to choose, but here are a few I’d like to look back on:

  • I have particular admiration for those organisations that tear up the rule book and take the road less travelled. In this category, I would include the Mayday Trust, Landermeads Care Home and the Holy Cross Day Centre. It never fails to amaze me how we continue to do things because that’s what we’ve always done. These guys have thrown away uniforms, assessment forms and keyworking. And they were brave enough to ride significant staff turnovers and upheaval in those early days of transformation. Hats off to you!
  • I believe one of the most powerful forces of nature is the community response to a crisis. We see it in the news, after floods, fires and terrorist attacks. In the health and social care sector, these crises may not be so newsworthy, but the cuts to budgets, the over-emphasis on time and task, and the increase in demand for services has pushed at least two communities to respond – Solva Care and the Debenham Project. And they’ve managed to create support systems second-to-none, at a fraction of the cost.
  • There are two reports which I have really enjoyed reviewing. Both in the lively and engaging way they are written, and the significant impact they could have on communities and the public sector if they were top of the reading list. The Art of Powerful Questions challenges us to pause and think again before holding conversations with citizens. And The Art of the Possible in Procurement – in fact anything is possible – enough to make procurement officers’ eyes water!

The Ideas Hub has given me special permission to always be seeking out, listening to and learning from inspirational and courageous pioneers. I wait in daily anticipation for the next great story, thought-provoking report and clever film to knock at my door. I’ll leave you with the guiding words of the Debenham Project: “Get on and do something” and then make sure you tell us about it!


Photo by Mario Purisic


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