Brian Salisbury is one of only a handful of experts on individualized funding and direct payments in the world.  He has made it his lifetime work to give individuals with disabilities and their families the financial power to control the type of disability supports they require.  He is now an institutional entrepreneur as Director of Strategic Planning at Community Living BC – a Crown Corporation supporting people with developmental disabilities.  Here is Brian's contribution to: What would you like to become more visible in 2011?   You can also Download Becoming Visible  -  the complete collection of 58 essays.

Co – Production

Over the past decade, the importance of belonging, contribution and citizenship has been emphasized. However, community living faces many complex challenges, including growing demand in the face of finite resources and practices and support models that have outlived their usefulness.  To address these and other issues, the sector must reach beyond its own walls and more effectively engage in relationships, partnerships and collaborations with the larger world of business, non-profits, charities, and various levels of government to maximize opportunities to grow and improve. Such an approach can broadly be defined as "co-production", a concept popularized in the UK and Europe over the last two years. 
 
"Co-Production™" is about working together for a strong community and more effective social services. It starts with the idea that services are successful only when the people being served are involved, a principle applicable to almost every field of service. There are five core values of "co-production" that can help create a renewed sense of membership, belonging and joint ownership in positive outcomes:
 
1. People served, their supporters, and other stakeholders, are seen as
valued assets
2. Their contributions are valued and rewarded
3. Reciprocity leads to mutually rewarding support and stronger outcomes all round
4. All stakeholders, including people in local communities contribute in ways that build a web of mutual support 
5. There is respect for what each person brings to the table 

"Co-production" stands in strong contrast to the almost visible gulf between professional helpers, people served, and local communities that often exists today.

Upon close examination, you will find:
– Professionals and service providers typically operate within systems that do not solicit the active support of those they are trying to help
– People compete for scarce services and consume them in a sort of learned helplessness
– Communities feel disconnected and powerless, leading to suspicion of the large institutions around them – they are seemingly unaware that
they hold the key to making needed change
– People with money, or systems, often pay for the services that family, neighbourhoods and communities used to provide.
 
These realities must change for community living to become a resilient, adaptable sector. "Co-production" and the collaborative partnerships and processes this involves, offers a way forward. 
 
While many facets of social finance and social innovation have direct parallels to the underpinnings of co-production, I think that the latter concept provides a more accessible framework for people to understand where the more complex world of social finance / social innovation might fit.

NOTES

You can download the complete collection of Becoming Visible responses here: Download Becoming Visible.  Or by clicking the Becoming Visible Category on the right hand side of your screen.

Please share and distribute to your friends and through your various networks, websites etc.  I think you will agree – these are too good to keep to ourselves.

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