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Promoting co-production as a tool for effective policy making

What is co-production?


Co-production in research refers to a collaborative process where researchers and stakeholders, such as policymakers, practitioners, and community members, work together to design, conduct, and implement research projects. It emphasises the active involvement of these stakeholders throughout the research process, ensuring their expertise, perspectives, and needs are integrated into the research design, analysis, and dissemination of findings.


Co-production can be an essential tool in policy making because it enhances the relevance, effectiveness, and impact of research on policy decisions. By involving policymakers, together with in communities, in the research process, co-production ensures that the research questions align with policy priorities and that the findings are tailored to address specific policy challenges. It fosters a mutual learning environment, where researchers gain a deeper understanding of policy contexts, while policymakers gain access to evidence-based insights that inform their decision-making.


Despite its potential benefits, co-production is not commonly used in research and policy making due to several challenges. These include resource constraints, power imbalances between stakeholders, traditional research structures that prioritise academic outputs, and time limitations. Additionally, the different cultures, languages, and incentives among stakeholders can hinder effective collaboration.


Why adopt co-production?


If co-production in policy making was more widely adopted, it would enhance the legitimacy and credibility of policy decisions by grounding them in robust research evidence and the practical knowledge of stakeholders. Co-production also fosters ownership and buy-in among stakeholders, increasing the likelihood of policy implementation and sustainability. It promotes interdisciplinary and holistic approaches to problem-solving, as diverse perspectives are incorporated into the research process. Finally, it contributes to building trust and fostering stronger relationships between researchers and policymakers, enabling ongoing collaboration and knowledge exchange.


It is because of our passion and belief that co-production needs to be more widely adopted within the policy making process that Sarah has joined the Co-production Network for Wales as an non-executive director to support their progress in to embed their values within policymaking in Wales;


• Value people and build on their strengths

• Develop networks that operate across silos

• Focus on what matters for the people involved

• Build relationships of trust & shared power

• Enable people to be change makers


It’s a great organisational match! The Co-Production Network for Wales and The SCL Agency's ethos are aligned due to our shared values and approaches towards collaborative decision-making and inclusive participation. We both emphasise the importance of involving stakeholders and communities in shaping policies and services, recognising the expertise and insights they bring to the table.


The Co-Production Network for Wales promotes co-production as a means to empower individuals and communities, ensuring their voices are heard and their needs are met in policy and service development. Similarly, here at the SCL Agency, we strongly believe in the power of collaboration, co-design, and user involvement to create innovative and effective solutions for lasting change.


We're really excited to see how this position will contribute to driving positive social change through inclusive approaches and we'll be sure to share the journey with you!




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