LawWorks InfoExchange: Co-production

In the August InfoExchange we explored the topic of co-production and how the values and principles can be used to help improve services.

The August InfoExchange, led by Eleanor Barrow (LawWorks Cymru) explored the topic of co-production from its inception in the Disability Rights Sector. We looked at a definition of Co-production as: ‘Existing at the intersection of people (citizens, service users) and professionals (public services, government). 

The five values that underpin co-production are: 

  • Value all participants and build on their strengths. 
  • Build relationships of trust and share power. 
  • Do what matters for the people involved. 
  • Develop networks across silos. 
  • People can be change makers and organisations become enablers. 


Having set the broad context, we went on to explore the spectrum of engagement which moves in three stages: 

  • Doing something to someone – here the organisation has the knowledge and makes and enforces the decisions 
  • Doing something for someone – here the organisation listens to people’s knowledge and makes and enacts the decisions. 
  • Doing something with someone.  - here the organisation and people listen to each other’s knowledge, make decisions together and take actions from the decisions.  This is the end of the spectrum where co--production lies.   

Co-production can be defined as ‘good help’. 

Before moving on to real life examples. Eleanor took us through the basics of Complexity Theory.  This has the potential to offer a new way to understand and design services and solutions.  Some processes are simple and linear others are chaotic with no clear path.   

Eleanor then shared the experiences of Citizens Advice Mountain Ash, one of the big challenges for them was to look at how the values of co-production could fit in with advice services and regulations.  They realised that there were things that they could co-produce and this gave them the confidence to move forward.  The idea of asking people what they thought before things got off the ground was really helpful and the process gave the team insights into things they hadn’t thought about, and opened their eyes to things that they simply hadn’t been aware of.  A powerful example came in feedback about the colour scheme for the office.  For one user it reminded him of the colours in the Department for Work and Pensions office and had negative connotations.   

Bringing the session to a close, Eleanor gave the political context of co-production in Wales where there is a growing body of legislation leading to new policies and requirements.  This is a trend that we are sure to see rolled out across the English regions with funders looking towards demonstrations of co-production in services.   


Year of Publication

Type of Resource

Date of publication

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Date last reviewed

Wednesday, August 31, 2022