The co-production toolkit is available on the North Cumbria Health and Care website: 

Co-production: a Cumbrian definition

"Co-production essentially describes a relationship between service provider and service user (and other members of the community) that draws on the knowledge, ability and resources of both to develop solutions to issues.

It is important that all involved are able to offer their views and opinions, and know they will be listened to.

It is the way we would like to build, support and improve our services using the input of all who have something to offer.

It should build on people’s experience and insight, and all should be supported to take part in the process.

It may not be easy. Co-production can be hard work, but is well worth it."


This is a starting point from the feedback from members of the Working Together Group and the West Cumbria Community Forum.   If you have any feedback please email and mark your email Cumbrian Co-production.


A Co-production Model


Five values and seven steps to making this happen


What is co-production?

Co-production is a way of working that involves people who use health and care services, carers and communities in equal partnership; and which engages groups of people at the earliest stages of service design, development and evaluation. Co-production acknowledges that people with ‘lived experience’ of a particular condition are often best placed to advise on what support and services will make a positive difference to their lives. Done well, co-production helps to ground discussions in reality, and to maintain a person-centred perspective.

Co-production is part of a range of approaches that includes citizen involvement, participation, engagement and consultation. It is a cornerstone of self-care, of person-centred care and of health-coaching approaches.


Values and behaviours

For co-production to become part of the way we work, we will create a culture where the following values and behaviours are the norm:


How to do it?

Seven practical steps to make co-production happen in reality:


Descriptions of co-production with feedback from our community and NHS staff


Co-production – the Scottish Co-production Network

  • How services and local people work together in a genuine partnership to design and deliver services and support. This means;
    • Recognising people as valuable partnerships
    • Valuing work differently
    • Promoting reciprocity (mutual benefit)
    • Building social networks
  • Co-production essentially describes a relationship between service provider and service user that draws on the knowledge, ability and resources of both to develop solutions to issues that are claimed to be successful, sustainable and cost-effective, changing the balance of power from the professional towards the service user.
    (Scottish Coproduction Network)


Co-production - David Boyle, fellow at the New Economics Foundation

"means delivering public services in an equal and reciprocal relationship between professionals, people using services, their families and their neighbours. Where activities are co-produced in this way, both services and neighbourhoods become far more effective agents of change" - it is about change and a shift of power.


Co-production - Sandy Watson Chairman NHS Tayside

I dislike the term co-production…..but absolutely support the concept. It is about involving people not only in the rowing and the steering of the boat, but also in actually building it.”


Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE - key features for co-production)

  • define people who use services as assets with skills
  • break down the barriers between people who use services and professionals
  • build on people’s existing capabilities
  • include reciprocity (where people get something back for having done something for others) and mutuality (people working together to achieve their shared interests)
  • work with peer and personal support networks alongside professional networks
  • facilitate services by helping organisations to become agents for change rather than just being service providers.


Nestas 6 principles of co-production

  • Building on people’s existing capabilities: altering the delivery model of public services from a deficit approach to one that provides opportunities to recognise and grow people’s capabilities and actively support them to put them to use at an individual and community level.
  • Reciprocity and mutuality: offering people a range of incentives to engage which enable us to work in reciprocal relationships with professionals and with each other, where there are mutual responsibilities and expectations.
  • Peer support networks: engaging peer and personal networks alongside professionals as the best way of transferring knowledge.
  • Blurring distinctions: removing the distinction between professionals and recipients, and between producers and consumers of services, by reconfiguring the way services are developed and delivered.
  • Facilitating rather than delivering: enabling public service agencies to become catalysts and facilitators rather than central providers themselves.
  • Assets: transforming the perception of people from passive recipients of services and burdens on the system into one where they are equal partners in designing and delivering services.


There has been positive feedback on this model used by NHS England. 


The co-production toolkit is available on the North Cumbria Health and Care website: