The evaluation involved a literature review to consider the co-production approach in more depth and understand how it is applied in other sectors. This showed that coproduction is best described by its underlying principles and values rather than by a precise definition. The term refers to the empowerment of service users and frontline staff to achieve an agreed outcome or service, usually, but not always, within a social care context. Services are developed ‘with’ and ‘by’ people rather than ‘for’ them, and the engagement should be from beginning to end of the process.
Essentially the process is about building relationships between different groups in order to share information, knowledge and experience, and come to consensus decisions. It is not just about having service users join committees. A number of
local examples are provided in the report on how co-production can work in practice.
The evaluation also shows that LHS development may be possible through coproduction, although it is more difficult than service development where discussion of service issues are more tangible and directly relevant to service users, and the service-user perspective is important for the service provider in understanding what changes and improvements are required.