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Co-Production

Co-Production infographic

Social innovation is transforming the delivery of public services on local, national and international levels. Staff with the Region of Durham Social Services Department, a recognized leader in the development and implementation of new social innovation, and faculty and students in Durham College's Social Service Worker Program, have a vested interest in new and emerging social service work practices. By equipping staff and students with knowledge and competencies in established "best practices" as well as emerging innovations, they are better prepared to meet the needs of the clients they will serve. Together in partnership, we were eager to explore "co- production", an exciting new social innovation that has been transforming the delivery of public services in the United Kingdom over the past decade (Slay & Robinson, 2011).

Through a scan of relevant literature, this work will explore various aspects of co-production. Specifically, we will examine how it is being defined, its history, and the benefits, challenges, and obstacles associated with implementation. Lastly, we will consider how it has been used to facilitate the delivery of social programs, specifically employment programming. Areas for future exploration are also discussed.

Further, through interviews with local, national, and international community leaders, this project gathered insights and perspectives regarding how co-production has been translated into practice in human service delivery. Four interviews were conducted live via video conference with representatives from MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, Canada, the City of Guelph, Canada, The New Economics Foundation in London, England, and The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services in Glasgow, Scotland. These interviews focused on ways in which these organizations have adopted the principles and practices of co-production.

Following approval from the Durham College Research Ethics Board, invitations were sent to organizations that were identified through the literature review as leaders in co-production (see appendix A). Both Principal Investigators took part in each interview, along with members of the project team. Student Research Assistants from Durham College acted as scribes during each interview, documenting the information shared. A script was used to ensure consistency across the four interviews (see appendix B). Each interview was approximately 60 minutes in duration.

For more information see full report Co-Production: A Literature Review and Environmental Scan.