Over the past year Lambeth Council has run a Coproduction Action Learning Set – an informal network where Lambeth staff share learning and ideas about coproduction. Coproduction is a simple idea, and one that has been explored on this toolkit in some detail. Each meeting allocates about half the time to exploring a theme related to coproduction; and the rest of the time to sharing challenges and successes enabling staff to support each other as they grow their skills in coproduction.
The May meeting focused on the role of procurement in coproducing services. The Action Learning Set heard a presentation from Eugene McLaughlin, Interim Head of Procurement at Lambeth and discussed ways the council needs to take a different attitude to risk in order to really deliver Cooperative Council values. The group also explored how residents might be more involved in the procurement process, ways in which procurement can be involved earlier in the process of commissioning a service and they also looked at what national and EU regulation could act as barriers to coproduction.
Future Coproduction Action Learning Set sessions will focus on:
- July – Feedback from the Good for Nothing event. At this session we will have feedback regarding the Good for Nothing event from the three project leads (parks, council communications and health and social care services), highlighting the innovative methods of coproduction that were developed and looking at the problems or issues that arose.
- September – Ensuring coproduction is inclusive/accessible to all. In this event we will explore how to identify what groups/individuals could be involved in coproduction, and how you then reach out and get them involved. We will also get detailed feedback from cultural services regarding the coproduction of Lambeth’s libraries.
- November – Sustaining participation throughout the process. One of the key challenges in the sustainability of coproduction, is not just getting people involved for a one-off event, but sustaining an open dialogue over the longer term. This session will start to explore the theme of incentives and how you might use them to enable sustained coproduction
- January – Managing conflicts/ facilitating between what stakeholders and senior managers/members identify as priorities. This session will describe Lambeth’s decision making process and explore how this may sometimes be a barrier to coproduction. It will explore how far the council is prepared to open up and accept the results of coproduction, and what changes need to be made to procedure/culture in order to improve.
- March – Coproducing the ‘strategic’ rather than service. This session will consider the challenges associated with coproducing a high level strategy, rather than coproducing more practical front line services.
So far the Action Learning Set has been run as an internal group for the council. However, we are open to shared learning across a range of partners and organisations. So if you are interested in attending a future session then please contact me, Nathan Pierce, at firstname.lastname@example.org.