Monthly column for providers and professionals working in adult social care from Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care.

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Thank you for coming back to read my column this month. I hope that in addition to continuing to provide your essential services, you have managed to find time to have a break away from work.

I am someone who has always loved my job, but also very much value family time, which gives me a much-needed break and allows me to return to work refreshed and ready to continue the challenge of raising the profile of social care and ensuring people receive consistently good quality care.

This month I want to talk to you about coproduction, because although I have mentioned it in passing before in my columns, I have not spoken in detail about how valuable I believe it to be and why we must coproduce our work at the earliest stage possible. There are many different definitions of coproduction — in fact, it probably means something slightly different to everyone — to me it is fundamentally about power sharing and a belief that people get better outcomes when they are involved in the design and delivery of their care.

There are two areas of focus for coproduction; how we co-produce our work within CQC and how we look for coproduction on our inspections.

Firstly, within CQC we have a good foundation of coproduction, but there is always more to be done. We host regular coproduction events, but in the past, these have been chaired by CQC, the agenda created by CQC and items presented by CQC staff (even when updating on an excellent coproduced piece of work!) This will now change, with future meetings co-chaired, agendas designed together, and items presented by CQC with partners.

‘There are many different definitions of coproduction — in fact, it probably means something slightly different to everyone’

Face to face coproduction is a great way to engage with people, as there is something that comes from discussing ideas with people in person that cannot be gauged over the phone or online. However, we know that not everyone can travel to our coproduction meetings every time for a variety of reasons, and we have been working hard to look at different ways to engage people in our work. Our digital participation platform, which was launched in May, has been really successful so far in allowing people from all over the country to keep informed about what we are doing and have their say on our work.

It’s easy to sign up to the platform and on it you can be involved in CQC’s work in different ways reviewing documents, sharing your feedback through discussions, posting your own ideas, responding to surveys, and voting and commenting on the ideas of other users.

If you would like to sign up, just follow the instructions on the sign up page.

Our next adult social care coproduction meeting is at the end of September and I am very much looking forward to seeing some of you there, and the slides and notes from the meeting will be shared on the digital participation platform afterwards. I look forward to updating you on more of our work next time…

I am starting to think more about how we inspect for coproduction and I think that this can happen at three levels. At the individual level it is about ensuring that the voice of the person receiving care and support is central to their care plan and how their care is delivered. Coproduction can happen at a service level; are people with lived experience involved with designing how the service is run — what the meal options are, what activities are on offer, do they sit on interview panels for new staff, etc…

Finally I think coproduction can happen at a corporate level — where people with lived experience are invited in to be involved with the strategy of the organisation, what the future direction of the organisation is. These are my early thoughts about the three levels we may want to consider when looking at meaning involvement of people with lived experience when inspecting services.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this via the comments below or tweet us at @CQCProf and @CareQualityComm.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

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