Co-production - useful resources

This page hosts useful reports, publications, toolkits and links relating to the practice of co-production.  If you would like to add anything to this page, or you have had any problem accessing any of the resources, please contact Olivia Hanley at

The most up-to-date resources are available here on the Scottish Co-production Network website.

Why not joint the Scottish Co-production Network where you can network with other practitioners with an interest in co-production? The network hosts learning events and online resources.

Find out more here

Scottish resources

'Co-production in Health and Social Care: What it is and how to do it'

This publication, endorsed by Scottish Government Director General of Health and Social Care and NHS Scotland Chief Executive, and Chief Executive of COSLA, describes the rationale for co-production and sets this within the context of current Scottish Government policy.  It contains local case studies as well as a brief outline of the recent training using Scottish Government Joint Improvement Team has been rolling out to partnerships across Scotland. 

'Doing with, not to: Community Resilience and Co-production'

'Doing with, not to' is the report resulting from research commissioned by NHS Education Scotland and carried out by SCDC into community resilience and co-production.  The research revolved around a practice exchange event in May 2011 involving Scottish projects carrying out work in the fields of community resilience and co-production, service providers, policy planners and others interested in sharing information.  Participants took part in a story-based exercise which highlighted some of the opportunities, benefits and barriers of co-producing services.  Based on the practice exchange, the report explores the connections between community resilience and co-production and also offers helpful definitions for these ideas and other related terms. 

Community Development and Co-production - issues for policy and practice

This SCDC Discussion paper looks at the concept of co-production which has emerged in recent years as an innovative and valuable approach to the provision and development of public services. It outlines how co-production is based on the principles that public services should approach service users as assets who have skills that are vital to the delivery of services.   


Community Resilience and Co-production - getting to grips with the language: a briefing paper

Community resilience and co-production are among an array of terms gaining currency in debates about the way communities function, how they can support residents and enhance well-being, and how public bodies can best engage with them.  Some of the terms are contested or used to mean different things; others are used as a form of shorthand for more complex ideas. They all relate to each other at some level.  This SCDC briefing paper offers a working definition of each of these terms and raise some questions for discussion.

Delivering sustainable outcomes with less money

This SCDC Discussion Paper looks at the likely impact of public expenditure cuts on local communities and presents the case for reconfiguring the relationship between communities and public services through co-production and community capacity building.

Making the most of our communities: Using an asset model to tackle poverty and improve health

This SCDC Policy Briefing provides a summary of the Scottish Government discussion paper on tackling child poverty and the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer, referring particularly to the asset model of change evident in both reports. It outlines how Community development invests in disadvantaged communities so that local people can participate in building and developing community resources, e.g. parenting and child care resources and health education. For further information on the asset model, visit our Asset Alliance Scotland page.

Assets in Action

This SCDC case study features the Children's Inclusion Partnership in North Glasgow to highlight work which builds on the positive social aspects of a community without overly focusing on negative aspects. Working with a wide range of local partners, CHIP enables children and families to think about what is going on in their communities, to speak out about it and to achieve some positive change as a result.

Wider resources 

A broad range of resources exist across the UK in relation to the growing interest in co-production, in particular from the New Economics Foundation (nef) and NESTA. We have selected a number of these which we think you will find useful in relation to co-production practice in Scotland.  Please get in touch if you have any further resources which you think we should host here. Click on the titles to download directly from this site.   

What makes us healthy? The asset approach in practice: evidence, action, evaluation - Jane Foot

The follow up resource to 'A glass half full', is now available. ‘What makes us healthy?', written by Jane Foot, has information on the evidence for the beneficial effects of assets such as social relationships and networks on health and wellbeing; ideas about how to put asset principles into practice; and help with assessing whether these new ways of working are having an impact.

It argues that asset based working is not an alternative to properly funded public services, yet argues that these services need to take better account of the relationship between commissioners, providers, service users and communities. It puts a positive value on social relationships, self-confidence and having control of your life circumstances, and highlights the impact of such assets on people's wellbeing and resilience.

Download 'What makes us healthy?' by clicking here .  Find more on asset-based approaches here

The Benefits of Co-production

A blog by Ruth Dineen follows her progress in 'co-producing a co-production resource'  and includes the outcomes of a questionnaire on the benefits and challenges of Co-production. Follow the blog for progress on the research and more information on the project.

The many and varied benefits of co-production, for participants, organisations and practitioners, are now up on the blog, along with a detailed co-pro process map. Thanks to all who responded to the questionnaire. Additional thoughts/ideas always welcome.

Co-production: a manifesto for growing the economy

As far back as Aristotle, philosophers have understood that family and community relationships are a second economy. Environmental economist Neva Goodwin has called it the 'core economy'. This pamphlet shows how public services can help to rebuild and reinvigorate this core economy and realise its potential.

New Economics Foundation (nef) 2008 .

The Challenge of Co-production: How equal partnerships between professionals and the public are crucial to improving public services.

This paper provides the basis for both a better understanding and a stronger evidence base for co-production. Given the current diversity of uses of the term, this paper also explains what coproduction isn't.

David Boyle and Michael Harris - NESTA, nef and The Lab, December 2009. 

Right Here, Right Now: taking co-production into the mainstream

This report charts ways ahead for public services: involving users in the design and delivery of services. It argues that co-production should be central to delivering the "Big Society" vision of the coalition government

David Boyle, Anna Coote, Chris Sherwood and Julia Slay - nef, NESTA and The Lab, July 2010.

Radical Efficiency: Different, better, lower cost public services

Radical Efficiency is about public service innovations that deliver different, much better outcomes for users at significantly lower cost. Radical Efficiency is not about tweaking and improving existing services. It is about generating new perspectives on old problems to enable a genuine paradigm shift in the services on offer - and transform the user experience. This report explains the Radical Efficiency model and showcases the case studies identified throughout the research. 

Research Paper by Sarah Gillinson, Matthew Horne and Peter Baeck - NESTA, Innovation Unit and The Lab, June 2010.

CO-PRODUCTION IN HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE: What it is and how to do it

A new pamphlet published by Governance International and the Scottish Government's Joint Improvement Team.

Governance International and the Scottish Government's Joint Improvement Team have published an up-to-date outline of public service co-production in the Scottish health and social care system. Contributions to the pamphlet have come national policymakers in Scotland such as Derek Feeley, the Director General Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of NHS Scotland, Rory Mair , the Chief Executive of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, and Sir Harry Burns, the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland as well as Gerry Power and Andrew Jackson of the Joint Improvement Team.

Governance International - Co-production toolkit

This toolkit helps service commissioners and providers in the public, non-profit, and private sectors reap the benefits, whilst minimising the costs and risks of collaborating with citizens and communities. You can also download Governance International's Public Service Co-Production Toolkit. For more information please contact