Skip to content

Public services inside out

This report shows how shows co-production can work in practice, delivering better outcomes for less money.

This report shows how shows co-production can work in practice, delivering better outcomes for less money.

Key findings:

  • The examples in this report show how co-production can be applied across a huge variety of public services to achieve cheaper, better outcomes.
  • Co-production is strongest when it embodies all six themes in this report, which include: recognising people as assets, establishing mutual responsibilities between professionals and the public, and supporting people to support each other.
  • Challenges include: difficulties in securing support from existing funding and commissioning, traditional approaches to audit and accountability in public services, and developing skills required to bring these approaches into the mainstream.
  • But co-production is sometimes blocked because it challenges the costly but conventional model of public services as a ‘product’ that is delivered to a ‘customer’ from on high.

This report is about real stories of reform, led by people who work in and use public services. This is public services inside out – innovation that overturns the conventional passive relationship between the 'users' of services and those who serve them. As we enter a period in which cuts and savings will be made from on high, these examples point to the possibility of a different approach: better, cheaper services created from the ground up by those who know public services the best.

 

This report also details some of the challenges faced by co-production practitioners.

 

This is the second of three reports on co-production from a partnership between nef (the new economics foundation) and Nesta.

 

Authors:

David Boyle, Julia Slay and Lucie Stephens