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Co-delivering public services with users and communities

Co-production is already a major issue in Camden, so we asked Governance International to run a workshop for our staff to explore how we could scale it up to other services. This was a real success – everyone was excited to see how much was already happening and what other opportunities there were. Camden is already building on this event to push forward. Co-production is getting even bigger!





Nicholas Webb, Head of Communities & Third Sector, Camden Council

What is public service co-production?

For Governance International, co-delivery of public services is about citizens and the public sector working TOGETHER in new creative, innovative and collaborative ways. This joint working between professionals and service users, building on each other’s assets, experiences and expertise, enables the service to be delivered more efficiently. Indeed, a Community Survey by Governance International and TNS Sofres of a thousand people in each of five European countries shows that today’s citizens, their families and friends already play a greater role in improving public services than many professionals realise.

Their contributions to co-delivery can include:

Expertise and knowledge -e.g. young offenders in Austria who tell their peers at driving schools about the consequences of drinking and driving (click to read more).

Skills- e.g. young peer educators co-delivering education on sexual relationship issues with Lambeth youth services to reduce under-age pregnancies in Lambeth (click to read more).

Time- e.g. citizens who work as Environmental Champions with Solihull Council, doing clean-ups in their local neighbourhood or painting community centres (click to read more).

Co-operation with the service process- e.g. elderly patients in Madrid region who work with the Health Agency to develop personalised medication regimes so that they don't forget to take their pills (click to read more).

Public commitment- e.g. the testimonials given to adult education classes by people who have enjoyed them previously. 

A key issue for public agencies is how to tap into the great energy of people who are already active in their communities. The Governance International 5 Step Model to Public Service Transformation will show you how to harness these assets and resources which are embedded in your own community – but also how to mobilise a larger number of citizens to play a more active role in your services.

How we can help you to raise awareness and get buy-in for co-production in your agency

Our portfolio in training on public service co-production includes:
  • 2 hour briefing sessions for Boards, Management Teams, Cabinets and Scrutiny Panels ;

  • half-day training sessions for service commissioners, heads of service provider units and people who use services;

  • one day training sessions for service managers and front-line professionals in public, private and third sector organisations;

  • two-day 'train-the-trainers' programme for front-line professionals in public, private and third sector organisations.

How to do it?

The Governance International 5 Step Model to Public Service Transformation

Co-delivery will not happen if we wait for a cultural change to take place in society and the public sector. It has to be triggered and managed. The Governance International 5 Step Model for Public Service Transformation sets out a carefully designed change management process.

The 5 Step Model to Public Service Transformation contains a range of tools to ensure that your agency makes the most of co-delivering public services with citizens. The 5 Step Model helps you to identify where co-delivery is already happening (‘Map it’), where it is most likely to be cost-effective (‘Focus it’), which citizens and staff are most keen to get involved (‘People it’), how to raise awareness of the potential of co-delivery in your agency and services (‘Market it’) and how to scale it up (‘Grow it’).

What are the benefits?

Bringing service users and communities into the service delivery process has immediate direct benefits in terms of opening up new resources for service providers to work with and improving the way in which the service is delivered.

So when users help to deliver services, it brings:
  • More resources to the service, in terms of the knowledge, expertise, skills, co-operation and commitment of service users and other citizens.

  • Savings to public budgets, by substituting contributions from users and volunteers for activities which were previously undertaken by paid staff.

  • Better quality services, focused on the features and outcomes that users value most highly.

  • More innovative ideas for public agencies to try out.

  • Greater transparency in the way services are delivered, supporting greater community involvement and open government.

What are the risks?

Clearly, co-production is not for everybody and the costs/benefits of harnessing service users and communities in the delivery of a specific public service will vary. Therefore, it is important to take a strategic approach to co-delivery. In particular, public managers and councillors need to build on existing co-production initiatives in public agencies and communities and make them better and more effective.

Good practice cases in co-delivery

Co-delivery is already happening in many sectors, including health and social care, community safety, education and neighbourhood services. For example:

  • Disadvantaged communities working with health agencies to improve their health and well-being through time banking as practiced by Time2Trade in Sandwell.

  • Citizen speed watchers working with the police to reduce accidents in South Somerset.

  • Neighbourhood champions working with the local council to improve their neighbourhood as successfully practiced in Offenbach, Germany.

We want you to tell us about the good practice that you are co-producing - get in touch with

Contact us

At a time when budget cuts compel public agencies to think more radically about service delivery, explore with us how to engage your local community in the delivery of services. With our support and your enthusiasm we can work together to champion citizen engagement in service delivery leading to better outcomes for communities and greater efficiencies for you.

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