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Wolverhampton Information Network

Working Together Through Co-production

What is Co-production?

Co-production is a simple idea. It’s about individuals, communities and organisations working together as equal partners, sharing decision-making to create services and support that work for the people they are designed for.  It’s a way of working that shares responsibility and power, doing ‘with’ people rather than doing ‘to’.

In co-production, we involve all the relevant people in the design, delivery and evaluation of services and in any decisions that affect them. This gives people real choice and control leading to better lives for everyone. 

Please take the time to view this short video about Co-production.

How is co-production different to engagement, consultation and other types of participation?

The Ladder of Participation  helps to explains the difference between co-production and other levels of engagement.  Where are you on the ladder towards working in co-production?


Co-production is an equal relationship between people who use services and the people responsible for services. They work together, from design to delivery, sharing decision-making about designing services as well as decisions about the best way to deliver them.


People who use services are involved in designing services, based on their experiences and ideas. They have genuine influence but have not been involved in ‘seeing it through’.


Compared to the consultation step, people who use services are given more opportunities to express their views and may be able to influence some decisions, but this depends on what the people responsible for services will allow.


People who use services may be asked to fill in surveys or attend meetings; however, this step may be considered tokenistic if they do not have the power to influence or affect change.


People responsible for services inform people about the services and explain how they work. This may include telling people what decisions have been made and why.


People who use services are helped to understand the service design and delivery so that they gain relevant knowledge about it. That is all that is done at this stage.


People who use services may be invited to attend an event about services.   Their views are not considered important and are not taken into account.

Please take the time to view the following short video about the ladder of co-production.

What does co-production look like in practice?

Co-production can be about supporting a child or young person to make decisions about their own life, or about young people and their families being involved in designing and developing services for the wider community. All levels of co-production are valuable, however different outcomes will require involving young people and families in different ways and at different stages in the process. 

Here you will find a handy factsheet Methods and Levels of Participation, this has been developed by young people and helps to explain more about how co-production works.

Our co-production partners/champions

Voice4Parents is a group of parents and carers whose children have special educational needs and/or disabilities, living in Wolverhampton.  They represent the views of other parents and carers and work together with the City of Wolverhampton Council, health partners and other organisations to make sure the services and support available meets the needs of all children, young people and their families.

Changing Our Lives  is a rights-based organisation. They work alongside disabled people and people with lived experience of mental health difficulties, of all ages, as equal partners to find solutions to social injustice and health inequalities.  Their work is rooted in the belief that no one is too disabled and no one’s mental health is too complex to lead an ‘ordinary life’.

Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council exists to support the development and sustainability of an effective voluntary and community sector and facilitate the development of diverse, strong communities and to enhance quality of life within the City of Wolverhampton.

Wolverhampton Information, Advice and Support Service provides Impartial information, advice and support on matters relating to a child or young person’s special educational needs or disability from birth to 25 years.

Our promise

To show our commitment to co-production the Children and Families Together Board has developed a Co-Production Charter.   

The charter is a set values and principles of working together to ensure families remain at the heart of discussions and decisions.  

These values have been developed with young people, parents and carers, City of Wolverhampton Council; Royal Wolverhampton Trust and Wolverhampton CCG; Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council and Wolverhampton Information, Advice and Support Service. 

To view our co-production charter click the image below:

What's next?

The Children and Families Together Board recognise that this will be a new way of working for some people and we are putting together a range of support tools in order to support families, young people and professionals across the partnership work together more co-productively.  This support includes:

  • A plan to communicate and raise awareness of co-production and the charter
  • Self-reflection tool – where are people on the journey towards working in co-production
  • A hub of resources that will help us to do it
  • A tool kit /how to guide
  • Case studies to show what it looks like, how to do it , what can be achieved
  • Support and advice for anyone wanting to do co-production from our co-production champions
  • Training for families and our workforce

Examples of co-production

Co-production is developing in practice in Wolverhampton.  We’d love to hear some of your stories so that we can highlight how you are working together with young people and families to improve the services and support that is available to them.  Please contact us with details or download a template to complete and return.

Thank you!

Want to get involved?

For further information, please contact:

Alison Baggs
City of Wolverhampton Council

Tele: 01902 550997


Changing Our Lives



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