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 +# The Way Ahead: Pragmatic Co-Production
 +**The Way Ahead: Civil Society at the Heart of London Pragmatic
 +co-production:​ a briefing. [Available here](http://​​sites/​default/​files/​images/​Pragmatic%20co-production%20briefing_The%20Way%20Ahead%20April%202016.pdf)**
 +## Introduction
 +*The Way Ahead: Civil Society at
 +the Heart of London* sets out the recommendations from the Review of
 +Civil Society Support in London. The Review was commissioned by London
 +Funders working alongside Greater London Volunteering and the London
 +Voluntary Service Council. The Review was carried out by Srabani Sen OBE
 +& Associates and supported by the City of London Corporation’s charity,
 +City Bridge Trust. The Way Ahead is available at
 +In developing the recommendations in The Way Ahead, the Review Team, (which consisted of the Reference Group for the Review and Srabani Sen OBE & Associates),​ developed the concept of “pragmatic co-production”. The Review Team believes pragmatic co-production should be at the heart of how civil society works. This briefing paper describes pragmatic coproduction.
 +## Context
 +By proposing co-production as a core principle, the Review Team
 +is building on an increasing recognition of the importance of community
 +involvement in addressing the issues they face. Co-production is a theme
 +in many recent reports and reviews such as the recommendations of the
 +London Communities Commission (January 2016), the interim report of the
 +Joint Review of Investment in Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise
 +Organisations in Health and Social Care Sector from the Department of
 +Health (March 2015) and Community Capital: The Value of Connected
 +Communities from the RSA (October 2015). These reviews and reports are
 +highlighted in Chapter 3 of The Way Ahead. Co-production is being
 +increasingly adopted as an approach. For example co-production has been
 +enshrined in legislation,​ namely the Children and Families Act 2014,
 +which requires local authorities in England to work with families with
 +disabled children to develop a “local offer” of services.
 +## Definition of “co-production”
 +Whilst “co-production” is a concept that
 +has grown in prominence in recent years within civil society and the
 +public sector, there are many different interpretations of what the term
 +“co-production” means. The Review Team developed the following top level
 +definition of co-production:​
 +> “Co-production is where Londoners work with those in power, and each other, in a way in which all voices are heard equally in developing a shared understanding of need and in crafting solutions to make London a better place.”
 +To be clear, effective
 +co-production goes well beyond consultation. Consultation is “we are
 +thinking of delivering ‘x’, what do you think”? Coproduction is “let’s
 +work together on ‘y’ issue” to identify and solve that issue or problem.
 +What is pragmatic co-production?​ Co-production can be seen by some as an
 +open-ended, Utopian approach, disconnected from the reality of, for
 +example, pressures on resources. The Review Team therefore developed the
 +concept of “pragmatic coproduction”. Pragmatic co-production is an
 +approach in which honest conversations are held between communities,​
 +funders and civil society about the constraints. These constraints could
 +be financial, practical or driven by policy. These constraints should
 +provide a context and parameters for communities,​ funders and civil
 +society, within which to develop a shared understanding of need and
 +discuss solutions. An aspect of pragmatic co-production will be the need
 +to acknowledge that the different viewpoints of all those involved in
 +pragmatic co-production may lead to tensions. These tensions will need
 +to be openly discussed and resolved as part of the pragmatic
 +co-production process.
 +## What should pragmatic co-production cover?
 +The Review Team contends that
 +pragmatic co-production should cover a continuum of activity that
 +* communities identifying for themselves, with support if needed, what
 +their needs are
 +* funders, the public sector and civil society’s
 +understanding of need being based on what communities identify for
 +* communities being enabled to change their own lives for the
 +* communities shaping solutions and responses to opportunities
 +* communities shaping services delivered by others, whether these be
 +public sector or civil society services
 +* communities advocating and
 +campaigning on their own behalf, with support if needed
 +Pragmatic co-production is about more than an approach to tackling the
 +big or entrenched problems and issues faced by communities. Coproduction
 +approaches can be invaluable in developing individuals and communities,​
 +and making the most of opportunities and the strengths that lie within
 +communities. Co-production can happen at an individual, relationship
 +level, for example in the design of mentoring approaches.
 +***Continuum of pragmatic co-production***
 +## Why pragmatic co-production?​
 +In an era of austerity, the Review Team
 +argues that pragmatic co-production is the best approach to ensuring
 +scarce resources are more efficiently applied in ways that genuinely
 +meet the needs and aspirations of communities. This has already been
 +proven in sectors such as children’s disability, where co-production has
 +become increasingly central to how services are shaped within the
 +overall context of finite resources.
 +Placing pragmatic co-production at
 +the centre of every aspect civil society will ensure that community
 +voices and the “lived” experience of communities are always to the fore.
 +This provides a solid basis and legitimacy for campaigning and
 +influencing. It will also better enable communities themselves to exert
 +influence and campaign if they so choose.
 +The Review Team recognises
 +that co-production as a process needs funding, but argues that up-front
 +investment in this approach will enable the targeting of limited
 +statutory and independent funding in ways that are much more likely to
 +address needs whilst making the most of available resources. It is
 +therefore an investment worth making.
 +There are other advantages to
 +pragmatic co-production. Collaborating with others in pragmatic
 +co-production to define needs would enable funders to work more
 +strategically,​ based on an understanding that is shared across
 +communities,​ civil society and other funders. Developing a shared
 +understanding of need would allow funders to target resources not only
 +in relation to their own priorities, but also in relation to other
 +funders’ priorities.
 +Pragmatic co-production would enable efficiencies
 +for civil society too, by ensuring a consistent framework upon which to
 +develop funding bids. Currently, civil society reports having to twist
 +funding applications to meet different funders’ differing understanding
 +of the needs of the same communities. Pragmatic co-production of a
 +shared understanding of need would minimise the differences between
 +funders’ understanding of need. It would also provide a basis for
 +aligning evaluation and measurement methods across funders.
 +## Should pragmatic co-production apply to all communities?​
 +The Review Team
 +believes that there should always be a presumption that pragmatic
 +co-production is the starting point for any engagement with communities.
 +However, we recognise that not all people in any given community will
 +want or be able to take an active part in co-production. Some may want
 +to express views, thus providing valuable insight, but not get involved
 +in anything more proactive. In adopting pragmatic co-production,​ the
 +choice of individuals in communities to take part or not should be
 +respected, alongside offering a range of ways in which people can
 +participate,​ including for example, through the use of social media.
 +This would enable the fullest range of people to have a say in
 +decisions, in ways which suit them.
 +There will be communities which are
 +fragile or particularly vulnerable for whom pragmatic co-production may
 +not be immediately accessible. Civil society organisations and support
 +bodies may need to continue to play an intermediary role, whilst work is
 +carried out to build the capacity and confidence of these communities to
 +engage in pragmatic co-production at a later date. However, as stated
 +above, the Review Team argues that there should always be a presumption
 +that pragmatic co-production is the starting point.
 +## The role of civil society support in pragmatic co-production
 +pragmatic co-production emerges a clear role for civil society support
 +as a catalyst to enable it to happen, and to support more vulnerable
 +communities to articulate their views, working with frontline
 +volunteers, groups and organisations. The Review Team also proposes that
 +pragmatic coproduction should apply equally to civil society support
 +organisations in how they work. Support organisations should co-produce
 +an understanding of the needs of those that turn to them for support,
 +and co-design solutions that will empower these volunteers, groups and
 +organisations to become more selfreliant.
 +April 2016
 +Supported by the City of London Corporation’s charity, City Bridge Trust
london/twapc.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/18 04:50 by 2yf7j