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Helping practice keep up with principles

Sam Jordan is the Communications Manager at SCDC, which runs the Scottish Co-production Network. Here he shares some reflections as the annual Co-pro Week Scotland kicks off.

We’re delighted that it’s Co-production Week Scotland 2022! Now in its 7th year, it’s great to be once again coming together to explore how co-production puts people and communities at the heart of the support and services they’re part of.

This year we’re exploring how we put co-production into practice. With co-pro now the way things ‘should’ happen, we want to find out whether the rhetoric matches the reality – are services and communities truly able to work in a co-productive way?

So, what’s the theory vs. reality? That’s a question we often come across when we talk to others about co-production. With such a strong set of principles and values, how do we actually deliver on them, in an environment of limited funding and stretched capacity?

We’ve seen remarkable, innovative practice over the last few years, with covid forcing us all to try new ways of working, and push beyond what we thought were the limits of co-production. That’s led to new opportunities, but also new challenges and it’s hard to not feel overwhelmed by how important co-production is, and how difficult it can be to achieve well.

Some of these puzzles are addressed in our Key Messages for Co-production resource. Developed by Network members, these short statements offer some practical steps in tackling some of these issues:

  • Addressing inequalities is part of the job
  • Resource communities to address their priorities
  • Champion digital, but address the barriers
  • Give co-production the time it needs
  • Invest in showing co-pro it works

These key messages reflect some of realities of co-producing right now, and we’re really looking forward to hearing from Network members about their practice, great ideas and searching questions.

Co-Pro Week is all about having these discussions and to do so we’ve brought together events, resources and blogs from across Scotland and beyond – we hope you’re able to take part and share your own insights as we all continue to learn together.