What is Co-production?

Co-production is a way of working that offers an alternative to the traditional, hierarchical top-down flow of power. It involves sharing control with those using a service, and ensures they have equal influence over the design, delivery and commissioning of any service which affects them.

At Fulfilling Lives South East we believe Co-production is fundamentally about seeing people as assets; not as passive recipients of services but equal partners in designing and delivering activities to improve outcomes. It’s a collaborative approach to working which challenges the status quo.

Our purpose and objectives are:

  • Acting as champions for maximising Co-production in all project activities and ensuring the genuine involvement of those with lived experience of multiple and complex needs at all levels
  • Influencing services and systems and supporting them to embed Co-production​​
  • Addressing the barriers and stigma that people with multiple and complex needs experience in accessing and remaining in employment

We prioritise an inclusive approach that values the lived experiences regardless of where individuals are in their journey. We advocate using a wide range of engagement activities to adapt to individuals’ needs and interests. We believe that Co-production and Service User Involvement are key mechanisms for achieving positive change in systems and services.

Co-production Values

Values are the foundation of authentic and meaningful Co-production and help guide participants on how best to conduct themselves, communicate and share information.
  • Values are the first step to co-producing​
  • Values can serve to measure Co-production and anchor practice to ethos
  • Values help guide consistent Co-production practice
  • Values are relevant to all steps on the Ladder of Involvement

Levels of Involvement

At Fulfilling Lives, the term Service User Involvement (SUI) refers to the active participation of persons with lived experiences of multiple and complex needs in shaping systems and services that serve them.

Involvement can happen at different degrees or levels, referring to different purposes and suited to different involvement activities.



Purpose: Individual recovery.

Activities: Peer support, art groups, team away days, key working, recovery plans, mutual support groups, social activities in services, etc.



Purpose: Improve or influence services.

Activities: Employing people with experience of using services, Peer Research, surveys and consultation, service user forums and committees, volunteering, service evaluation and audits, policy review, help with new bids, etc.



Purpose: Improve and Influence systems.

Activities: Contribute to local/national policy, contribute to commissioning new services, service user representation at boards and decision-making forums, policy review, surveys, sector wide forums, Peer Research, etc.



Purpose: Being part of the community, offering services and tackling stigma.

Activities: Peer Led organisations, mutual aid groups, recovery cafes, music, art and performance groups, etc.



Working with people who have lived experiences of services and systems.


Co-production in Practice

Resources and practical guides.

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