By Michael Turner and Pamela Holmes

“What we need to be doing is shouting from the rooftops about how good co-production is, what we can do, what we can achieve together and actually try and make sure that those lessons are learnt,” says Andrea Sutcliffe, former Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and now Care Quality Commission (CQC) Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, in SCIE’s new film ‘Have we got co-production news for you?’ (

SCIE is shouting the co-production message from the rooftops with a major new National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) accredited ( guide ‘Co-production in social care: what it is and how to do it’ ( This new guide is, in itself, an example of co-production. The guide looks at what co-production is by examining the importance of definitions and principles along with the policy context and issues around the potential costs and benefits of co-production. It then takes readers through the steps needed to put co-production into action with a jigsaw model of change management. This organises the actions needed for co-production around four key areas/pieces of the jigsaw: culture, structure, practice and review. The guide is informed and illustrated by 10 practice examples which cover a range of social care settings, some of which overlap with health care, including a clinical commissioning group. But SCIE has never been about just ‘talking the talk’ and is ‘walking the walk’ with its own practice on co-production.

An independent review of SCIE’s participation work completed in 2010 pointed the way to improving the impact of work with people who use services and carers, through a co-production approach. This led to the development of a new strategy which began with the recruitment of a person who uses services to SCIE’s board and who would also chair a new Co-production Network. Tina Coldham, a mental health service user and survivor researcher (and member of INVOLVE) was appointed to this role.

Pamela Holmes and Michael Turner

SCIE then approached a range of organisations run by people who use services and carers and organisations representing equalities groups to form the membership of the Network. The members of the Co-production Network are involved in all aspects of SCIE’s work including recruitment panels and project advisory groups, as well as the equality, diversity and human rights forum, and reviewing SCIE’s new resources. The membership meets in full twice a year to give input into SCIE’s strategic direction and work programme.

“We make no claim to having everything perfect,” says Tina. “But we do have a set of principles that sets out how we are implanting co-production at SCIE; and we’re embedding this with new policy and practice and support to staff to develop new ways of working.”

One of the important early steps in the development of SCIE’s co-production strategy was the agreement of a definition of co-production, and it is one that the new co-production guide recommends to other organisations. For SCIE co-production means working as equal partners in all aspects of its work. This is the first point in SCIE’s co-production charter ( which outlines a set of principles to support a whole systems approach to co-production.

A recent SCIE project on end of life care ‘Dying well at home: the case for integrated working’ ( gives an example of how co-production is working at SCIE. A Project Advisory Group (PAG) of carers, people who use services, commissioners and providers met twice to support the development of the guide. Of those attending in a professional capacity, many had also been or were currently carers themselves; the chair of the PAG was an ex-carer as well as an academic with an interest in end of life care issues. The PAG reviewed the way the guide was produced and written, making sure the recommendations and content reflected real-life experiences and practice.

SCIE also brought together another group of carers, some of who were recently bereaved. They generously agreed to take part in a facilitated workshop that extended the co-production opportunity to a wider field. Both the PAG members and workshop participants were asked for examples of good practice in services they had received themselves, or which they had heard about through friends or contacts. The Social Care TV films that support the guide were also produced with input at all stages from an older person who had experience of film production.


SCIE co-production pages:

SCIE end of life care pages:

Contact: Michael Turner, Co-production Support Manager, Social Care Institute for Excellence


Tel: 020 7535 0944