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Co-production in Public Services: Advancing the Agenda

Coprodnet and Governance International co-hosted a co-production workshop during the Policy@MBS week at the University of Manchester, on the 30th October 2012.

The workshop showcased three inspiring case studies of involving users and communities in public services from the North-West. These examples showed why co-production of health and wellbeing is a powerful approach for better outcomes or improved efficiency of public services. The workshop also explored the ten most common barriers to scaling up co-production in public services and gathered smart ideas from participants on how to overcome these barriers. These co-produced results will be made available soon!

Co-Production in economic development, social services and health:

Overcoming the barriers to co-production:

Elke Loeffler (Governance International) discussed with the group what they see as the the top ten barriers for scaling up co-production in public services.

Scaling it up – Smart ideas for making co-production work in public services:

James Duggan (Coprodnet) facilitated the discussion on how to overcome barriers of co-production and gathered smart ideas for a co-produced pamphlet resulting from the workshop. 

Click here to read a report that summarises the learning points from the event.

Communities Can Conference, North Wales, 2 May 2012

Edgar Cahn and Chris Gray

Elke Loeffler and Frankie Hine-Hughes, Governance International, participated at the Communities Can 2012 Conference that took place in North Wales in May 2012. The conference explored the capacity for co-production and coaching to empower communities and create wellbeing. Edgar Cahn, father of timebanking, and Chris Gray, CEO of Timebanks USA were guest speakers at the event and discussed the ability for public service co-production to help communities tackle the problems they face. Click here to read the interview Governance International did with Edgar Cahn prior to this conference. 

Co-Producing Better Outcomes in Health and Social Care in Scotland Edinburgh, St. Andrews House, 19 April 2012

Elke Loeffler, Governance International and Tony Bovaird, Birmingham University, were invited to give a public lecture to more than 40 Scottish government officials about the series of Governance International Co-Production Roadshow Events which took place all across Scotland in mid-January and mid-April. While the two-day and one-day events surfaced a lot of exciting co-production initiatives, they also showed that co-production was still patchy. Some initiatives such as Food Train and the Family Nurse Partnership have successfully been scaled up over wider areas – but most initiatives have remained small scale and local, even when they appear to have wider applicability.

In order to widen and deepen co-production, Elke and Tony suggested some specific policies that should be implemented in Scotland:

  • Co-production should feature more strongly in performance management and competency frameworks.
  • Co-production champions in Scotland should support each other to learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses through facilitated peer reviews, based on a clear benchmark of good co-production practice.  
  • Needs assessment should become Needs and Capabilities Assessment (along the lines of the currently project being developed in Walsall MBC in England).

Sir Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer of the Scottish Government, emphasized in the discussion that there is already sufficient anecdotal evidence to show that co-production works. You can download the full presentation in pdf format here.

IRSPM Conference in Brasilia, 9-11 May 2011

Brazil has had a strong influence on governance practices in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. While once Porto Alegre was considered as the world template for participatory budgeting, Recife has recently won the Public Participation Award of the Bertelsmann Foundation in 2011.  Tony Bovaird, Professor at INLOGOV and Director of Governance International checked out during a recent study trip to Brazil what makes Recife so special. He also discussed with more than 100 participants at the inaugural IRSPM Latin American Conference in Brasilia how the public sector can make the next step to  expand citizen involvement from simply deciding on priorities to co-designing and co-delivering public services.  In an interactive plenary workshop, delegates provided a host of examples of where co-production is already working in Latin American – and where it could provide major improvements in cost-effectiveness if introduced on a greater scale.

The Efficient State, Berlin, 3-4 May 2011

Source: Behörden Spiegel/Dombrowsky

The 2011 German Public Management Conference focussed on e-government strategies to bring about public service transformation. Florian Birk, Director of Governance International, highlighted in his keynote speech the potential of public service co-production. As he stressed new technologies are an important driver in the changing relationship between citizens and government. The 400 participants were particularly intrigued by speed-watch schemes now operating widely in the UK. This new form of co-operation between volunteers and the police shows that even in 'sovereign' tasks of the state citizens have an important contribution to make to improve outcomes. More co-production practices can be found in Florian's presentation in "Konferenz 2011" at

Nesta Co-production Roadshow, Birmingham, 29 March 2011

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Governance International and Birmingham University co-hosted the Birmingham Co-Production Roadshow that showcased inspiring examples of co-production in public services from the region and across the country.

This included:

Participants learnt from keynote speakers Paul Sheehan, Chief Executive, Walsall MBC and Lead of West Midlands Local Authority Chief Executives' Task Force and Jim McManus, Director of Public Health of Birmingham City Council on how to make co-production central in local government and health. Click here to read the full report of the event.


Listen what the participants said on the day by watching the Birmingham Roadshow video at


Governance International would like thank NESTA, the new economics foundation (nef), and the Co-production Practitioners' Network for their excellent co-operation with the planning and running of the day.


I attended the co-production event in Birmingham on 29 March and found it a really useful and stimulating event... Highly recommended!
Gill Phillips, Nutshell Communications Ltd
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