Question to Deputy Minister: Co-Production in Social Services


Dydd Mercher, 23 Ionawr 2013/ Wednesday, 16 January 2013  


Mark Drakeford: Pa gamau gweithredu y mae’r Gweinidog yn eu cymryd i ymwreiddio egwyddorion cyd-gynhyrchu wrth lunio a darparu gwasanaethau cymdeithasol yng Nghymru.

[What action is the Minister taking to embed the principles of co-production in the design and delivery of social services in Wales.]


Gwenda Thomas:‘Sustainable Social Services for Wales: A Framework for Action’ gives our commitment to our broader aims of social services built around citizens. The draft social services and wellbeing (Wales) Bill includes duties to promote development of co-productive delivery models, such as social enterprises.


Mark Drakeford: Diolch, Weinidog. We look forward to the publication of the Bill, hopefully next week. In thinking about what it might say about co-production, are there lessons that you believe that we might learn in Wales from developments in other parts of the United Kingdom, such as Scotland, where thinking about co-production and practical policies based on those principles have already been put into practice?


Gwenda Thomas: Thank you for that supplementary question. I am pleased by the learning and expertise being shared by the joint Scotland and Wales co-production network on how co-production is being developed, embedded and taken forward in our respective countries. During the visit, the Wales delegation looked at social services in Midlothian where co-production is embedded in the way that the local authority works, and learned about Talking Points—a personal outcomes approach that combines user and carer involvement with an outcomes approach to planning, delivering, evaluating and improving services. Talking Points takes a similar approach to that taken in the ‘Together for Mental Health’ strategy, in which measurable outcomes are being developed from a service user perspective through a co-production process involving mental health third sector organisations.

The network demonstrates a two-way learning process. Scottish counterparts were interested in initiatives that we have in Wales, including Book Prescription Wales bibliotherapy scheme, the Educating Patients Programme, and the whole role of service users in co-producing care and treatment plans under the Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010. Inspired by these programmes, counterparts in Scotland are looking to take these forward in their country.


Mark Isherwood: It is now almost three years since the Wales Council for Voluntary Action-led coalition attended all party conferences in Wales hosting round-table discussions, focusing on community resource teams, a whole-service approach to primary care, and delivering co-production that puts people in communities rather than service deliverers at the centre. However, Empower has said this month that, despite the voluntary sector support scheme and the development of local service boards, real meaningful joint working largely still evades us. What consideration have you therefore given or could give to the role that voluntary sector brokers can play as members of community resource teams in brokering services for the delivery of care from third sector providers?


Gwenda Thomas: Thank you, Mark Isherwood, for that. The Bill will show that we can look at any option to develop alternative service models. I believe that the most effective way of achieving positive outcomes is by co-producing services. The central idea in co-production is that people who use services are hidden resources. The question that you ask fits into that. I am sure that we are all looking forward to see what the Bill states on developing these alternative services.