Jack shares his journey of coproduction in relation to social work England and regulation, and talks about the benefits and values of coproduction in regulation, Jack clearly articulate the importance of coproduction in relation to the regulatory body for social workers in England. 


What a difference it makes to the work that we do having people with lived experience collaborating with us, it makes the work more genuine and authentic. 

curator. Thank you for agreeing to take part in this chat. About co production trying to introduce yourself. Yeah, sure

So my name is Jack Harrison. I'm participation officer at Social work, England. Uh, so my role is leading on co production and managing our national advisory forum, which is kind of like the main forum that we've created to kind of like Dr Cooperation forward and those involved in that doing the cooperation of social work, England, Or at least some of it

Um, yes, that's a little bit more about my role. Would it be helpful to say a bit about me as well or Yeah, why not? Tell us a bit about you, Jack. Sure

So, um so I live in Sheffield, which is where the officers for social work England are as well. I've lived here since I was 18, so I went to I did my undergraduate Sheffield Hallum, and then did my master's Union of Sheffield. And I just kind of like stared stayed here afterwards

Originally from Middlesbrough. Um, do do go back and visit occasionally, but yeah, pretty pretty settled in Sheffield Now, how did you find yourself in coping option? Um I first found myself, Inc. Not that long ago

So the role, the role that I was in before this one. So I joined. I started this role in October 2019

The rule that I was in before this was as a uh it was essentially a job support coach for people with mental or physical health problems, either who were either in work and struggling or out of work and hoping to get back into work. And that was through a housing association called South Yorkshire Housing Association. They were that they were running

That contract was which was a trial of unemployment support service. Um, so I part of my role on there was the core production of that of involving the people that were on the service in what that looked like, Um, at that time, that was a really that was That was kind of like an additional part on top of my actual kind of deer job. That was that was actually working with people kind of kind of 1 to 1 basis

So I've done a little bit of it and kind of understood the principles and what it was, and it kind of started doing a little bit of it, but I guess that was where I first came across it and kind of where it kind of caught my attention. And then it was when I was in that rule that I saw this one advertised that was based around participation and co production being a much bigger part of that. So, um, yeah, it worked really well that even though I didn't actually do it, that much of it was enough for me to go into an interview and say, I've done a little bit of it

I understand that I see the value in it, and I think I have the skills to do to do more in it and take this on as well. So one kind of fed fed into the other. So I'm going to come back to the value of it later

But I want to talk to you. Would you share with me an experience that you've had a social work, England co producing and what that felt and looked like? What difference it made? Yeah, the difficulty with that question. Not that it's not hard to think of

One is that I think on the latest count is like 87 different pieces of work in different work streams. That kind of we've we've core produced where it is on that corporate ladder varies across those, um, that high number of pieces of work. But it does make it hard to choose, because because of how much we've done in such a short space of time

Um, but let me think one that comes to mind try on these type of questions. I try not to pick like the flagship ones, like Social Work Week is an is an obvious one. Um, but I think sometimes it's good to try and look past those if you can, but I think it probably is the best

The best example. Because it's on a big scale as well. Maybe I could ask a slightly different question then

Okay, So is there been a piece of co production that was an area that was unexpected or unintentional? Well, like not the usual type of co production. Yeah, So this is one of the examples that we have some in the corporation training that we've developed and are currently delivering. We've got some care studies and one of the ones

There is one of the ones that we use on these sort of decision review group, which is a like an internal process. As part of our regulation, where fitness to practise cases which are concerns are being raised against social workers, a cross section of those from the key different stages of that process are reviewed by colleagues from a cross section across the organisation, Um, to give them scrutiny basically and see what has been taken into consideration well and what hasn't and weighing improvements can be made. Um, we've worked really hard to get to the point where now people with lived experience of social work are on that on that front forum every single month that it runs

Um, and I guess, to answer your question in the market specifically around. Maybe somewhere you wouldn't expect that to happen, I guess because there's potentially could have been potentially a few barriers to that happening in that way. Um, I guess it's very It's very sensitive, confidential information about kind of ongoing cases that are still alive

In some instances, Um, so I guess people's perception around around that and in terms of who who should have access to that. It is part of that equation. Um, I think what we did really well in that instance was kind of I was identify the barriers to people being involved and then and then work around them and work to overcome them

So on that, um, we support people with data protection, training and confidentiality, training and fitness to practise training as well. Kind of on what that process is, um, to give people the knowledge and the skills and the awareness that they kind of needed to be to be in that space, Um so each each month when someone attends there, I guess kind of like supported by a regional engagement leads. There is social worker in the engagement team, and they kind of like putting up with that person, I guess, to go through the documents and kind of maybe explain any of the language of it's unclear or explain

Maybe some of the it was from the laws that underpin, like the social decision that was being made, or maybe just sort of kind of like the internal processes of what that fitness to practise processes, because it can be quite complex at times, I guess. Um, so, yeah, I guess there was. There was ways that we've worked around making it safe both for us as an organisation and safe for the people being involved in terms of their their well being as well

Um, yeah, making that work, Um And I think that's maybe somewhere initially on the first field, you might think you wouldn't be able to do that. And it's probably if I had to take a stab in the dark, probably something that is not having a lot in other places. Um, so I think that's a good one and says a lot around where we're how far we're trying to go with it and where we're trying to bring people into the work

I think Jack is a really nice example. So you talked about some of the barriers, and now I wanted to find out. What difference did it make having people with lived experience in that space

So the feedback has consistently been, and I guess this is its feedback on this, um, on that piece of work specifically, but for me, it's it's one that applies kind of across the board is that the perspective that that that a person with the lived experience brings to those conversations around what's what's important, what it would have felt like to be that person. What the the decision about the social worker in terms of whether they are removed from practise or whether there are conditions but in their practise, or whether it's deemed that they didn't break the professional standards, what it would feel like to be the person who raised that concern and hearing that decision and in terms of how well does it feel right or not? Does it feel justifiable? Does it feel, um, does it feel like the right decision? Does it feel comfortable? Um, have all the right things being taken into consideration? Um, yeah, from the feedback that's been given those kind of questions and keeping that central to the decision is really well, maybe not possible, but really difficult to do without that without that person and without that voice in the room. Um, so I think it can really it can really change the dynamic

Um, and I'm not sure how how common it would be otherwise, but the preventing the kind of other ring I guess, um which I'm sure no one does intentionally. But I guess it it makes it difficult, more difficult to, like, speak, Speak as if the person is not there. If that makes sense, yeah, it constantly brings it back to that and make sure that's always considered, which ultimately leads to better decisions and better informed decisions

So I was wondering if, in your kind of own practise has your perception practise or behaviour changed as a result of co producing? It definitely has. And so there's, um, something that I've been reflecting on previously recently, So should I say that is probably like a really good example of that. So one of my like main responsibilities that I was given when I start that job, this job so at the end of 2019 was a shadowing programme

So that was the name of that. Was that all staff at social work. England would spend time a day or two in front line practise, shadowing frontline social work so that people were better informed about what the realities of social work was so that they could you really experience that, and the other main task that I was given at that time was to set up the national advisory forum

So for the first six months, from October until March, those two things ran in tandem. So at that time, we weren't core producing. Um, and obviously that that shadowing programme came to a halt with covid and still hasn't came back

But now the conversations are starting to come back around of Can we do that again? Is the sector in a good enough place to to kind of take that on as a because it's a bit of an ask? Really? Um, uh, and thinking about it. I was like, Now I'm like, How did we ever do that without co producing it? How did we ever do that without directly working alongside academics, social workers, people who lived experience? Who would be? They would be part of that equation in terms of a staff member from a regular going out with their social worker. In what ways would it impact that relationship? In what ways would people feel able to say no? In what ways would that look like and be managed on the ground? Um, how would how would it be managed with social workers in terms of them feeling an extra responsibility

What could we do to make that work better or identify when it wasn't gonna work based on what people would say? These are questions that we might have asked but that we wouldn't have been able to answer. So it was much more reflecting back now on what I was doing at the time. There was many more assumptions and stabbing in the dark and taking an educated guess and kind of thinking, Well, we'll correct it kind of like as we go, but that getting it right the first time, I now feel more confident in the way that we would do it now to co produce it, that it would be much more likely to be correct the first time and that people would have better experiences from the outset

And so, just as a kind of a single example, I think that it's really highlighted to me as well that that's it's a completely different way of working. And I guess once you've done it, you can't you can't go back, Frank, Jack. That's really the second one, a bit of a journey, so I'm wondering about what impact does co production had at Social Work? England? It's a good question, and I think it's a I think it's a complex answer, Um, and one that so I'll try to be objective about it, because I guess from So what I might think, based on my experience would be different to somewhere else in a different part of the organisation

Because for me, it feels like it's had a massive, significant impact on the organisation. Um, but because I'm at the I'm at the not at the centre of it, but kind of like I'm the channel through, kind of like which it all happens and the coordinating of it and that type of thing. So I I see more of it and hear more about the impacts and the feedback

Um, and I guess what as well as my internal experience like that, what makes me think that as well as the but like the joint regular meetings, like patient and public involvement, which is kind of another term that's used in the not exactly as a substitute for coproduction book what they mean of involving the public and patients in their work? Um, just through conversations with colleagues in that wet where social work England or at is is the head of the head of the pack like we do. We're doing things that the regulators aren't and what they are aspiring to do. Um so although we might be, I guess behind more established organisations Or I guess organisations FMR have a longer history of co production and it might be doing it better and more thoroughly than than we are Even I guess an aspect of that is the type of organisation we are and as a regulator of professional Um, I think it's important to do both those comparisons in terms of our aspirations of how well co production is done in general, across organisations, our size, whatever that might be and then also the comparison with other regulators and other similar organisations towards Um I think it's important to do both those things, Um but yeah, the in terms of the impact on the organisation, especially kind of the space that we're moving into now after a couple of years is whether or not that's the right word to use or not book called governance

I guess there's a space that we're trying to move into. So guess what I've been trying to do is let is prioritise national advisory for our members. Time and capacity in their work around key areas of the organization's or stealing groups, sub committees, working groups, key projects where where decisions are made and where the biggest kind of peace to work, they are going to have the biggest impact

Our, um, we created that space, and that is now I'd stay close to being established, as is the norm. Um, I think it's maybe a good sign of kind of like where we've come in the last few years, but in those pieces of work, that's that question is asked now of, whereas our national advisor, Foreign Representation or um so that's not saying there's no more work to be doing. I guess the next stage for me after that is yes

Having someone on the working group is great, but you need to involve people beyond that, you need to hear more voices and cast the net more widely and speak to more people and maybe use those national advisory forum reps as the kind of vehicle to bring that through. Whether that be the national advisory Forum members or external forums or groups or whatever that might look like So I can see a path for where we're going for the for where the impact can be greater. But I think it's a It's a good point that we've got to in the time that we have

Thank you, Jake. So I'm going to ask one question and I'm gonna try to remember the one around how you did all of this in the last two years. So what value do you think co production has on organisations people that can produce and largely society in general? Sorry

Say that against the first aspect of that was organisation. The second one was it was that people who could produce so organisations, people who can produce and lastly society. Um so in terms of organisations, three core production is the impact that it can have is that it can create a culture change in terms of how organisations and how stuff in them think around how they produce the best work

Um, not that there's there's lots of other factors to do with that. There's yeah, similar things across any organisation of staffing and resource and of structures and of teams and, uh, all those all those type of things. But this for me co production is a significant part of that equation as well, in terms of how organisations make informed decisions, how they make, um, how to make good decisions, how they involved the people who are ultimately impacted by their work in it

Um, and I think if if you can get that key, you can get that that seed of thought if you can get that key bit into people's minds around them, asking that question, I think once people do that and have done it a few times, I guess like my example with the shadowing programme, once you see the value that it adds to that work in terms of how how more informed it is and how more well rounded and well considered it is, Once you've done that, it's hard to go back from that because if you then do a piece of work where you're not doing that, it feels like there's something missing. Um, so I guess that's part of the culture change, Um, a bit of a self reinforcing because you need to create a bit of a culture change to kind of make that happen in the first place, but it's self reinforcing as well. But once it's kind of like a snowball

I guess once once you've got some people doing it and it spreads and other people do it and then people feel a little bit of a weight of expectation of Should I should I be doing that, or should I be doing that in this piece of work? Because not all people can do it all the time because not all work, it adds value to depending on the organisation and its organisation. With hundreds of people, it's it's not, it's not feasible. But we want people to be asking the question of which elements of my work would add value to and at least asking that question and reaching out and exploring that and that'll be a good place for as I think we're there, we're there in some parts of our organisation and not all so I guess over the next year I think that's one of my aims and objectives to feel like that's like a space we're in

Um so I hope that's answered organisations in terms of people who can produce, Um, what impact did it have on people? Which do you mean, like, I guess as staff in an organisation or yes, I was wondering if people have told you about their experiences and I mean, we've spoken about this, how it get that people have said it gives them a sense of purpose. It enabled them to share their own skills and expect ease. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

I mean, hopefully a lot of things. I mean, yeah, people have people have fed that back. I guess the impact that I would hope that it would have on people is allowing or creating space for people to see the value in their in their experiences and the knowledge that they have gained from that and the skills that they have gained from that

Um and I think that's the better that you do co production. That is more likely to happen because there's kind of two elements of that. There's people sharing their stories for impact, and I think there's a time and place for that, and that's that's not a bad thing

But if that's all that you're doing that's not good. It needs to go beyond that to people sharing their knowledge and their skills and in putting those knowledge and skills into the work that they've gained as a result of their experiences. And I think that's much more

That's much more nuanced co production. And I think people people can tell people can tell the difference between those two things. Um, and I think when it's the latter, where people are given the space and the trust to input their skills and bring their Selves to the work, that people are much more likely to find that rewarding and much more likely want to do that more, Um, and really take some personal personal satisfaction from that

Um, yeah, I see that, um, and hope. Hopefully, people, hopefully that people's experience as well. What about society? Do you have any? I think now I think that society, I think being now that corporation is my like, dear today and the lens that I see my work in my organisation

I think more than anything, I think I think on a societal level, more than anything, it stands out with. Stark is how much how much it isn't the norm and how much it isn't done widely and how much it isn't. It's not the way people think

Um, yeah, and that there's still there's still that barrier between institutions organisations. There's still the top down the top down. We're we're thinking, um, yeah, unfortunately, that's what it makes me think more about society

But I guess on the flip side of that it I can see the potential in terms in terms of if co production was and not just co production itself, but the values and the ethos that are behind it in terms of the people who not just, I guess in that instance have used services, but the people who have experienced the problems that society is trying to solve, the best place to contribute to that solution. And I don't think that that is generally how it's seen. I think it could be, um, go on

What are your hopes for co production in the future? It's on society. Anything. You personally? Yeah, So I guess personally, I think I I can see myself working in it in the longer term and I guess the the aspiration there would be to be able to to use it, to have a to encourage it to be more widespread but more widely used

And for it to have more of an impact wherever it is that I'm working, whether whether it's here or or somewhere else, um, I guess, convinced if the work is, if convinces, the world. But yeah, convinced other people and other organisations in other parts of the society the value that it can add and the way that it can improve decision making and solutions. And so my final question is, Jack, Um so I have two final questions, and how does it make you personally feel co producing sort of feelings? And you have any top tips? Yeah, it makes me feel, I guess if you boiled it all the way down that I'm doing something good, Um, yeah, it's that's creating

It's creating opportunities for people that it is giving people the opportunity to be the best to be the best version of themselves. Maybe two do do things or work on parts of regular social work regulation, which seems like it would be a very closing behind us, but be involved in decisions and contribute to work that maybe that they never thought that they would have. Um and I see that when when people on corporate strategy steering groups or when people are on, um, social work week steering groups, which are like Big, Big National kind of like significant things in the sector

When I see people in that space and contributing in the same way the head of department is and having having an equal say in their decisions, being taken on board and implemented Um yeah, that it feels good to have been part of a process and part of an organisation that has has brought that about and embraced it. Any top tips? Um, top tips would be always, always ask people what would work best for them. Whether that I mean, I guess I did get in the habit or of doing that more specifically through through core production

But it's It's as if you, as is often the case of the corporation, it's a principle that applies anywhere as well. But the asking people, if they have any support, needs asking people what could make them feel more comfortable asking them if there's any part of that that they would in advance of the meeting, which, like a pre meet to talk through, kind of like what that is in any questions that you might have or purports meet after a piece of work to clarify or give people a chance to ask questions or reflect asking people what would what would enable them to contribute in the best way that they could. Um, I think, yeah, is my top tip in terms of people being included

And and that's not just being a one time thing, because it might look different in different circumstances at different times. Um, and I guess sometimes people might not always know themselves the first time or kind of like when they come aboard an organisation. Um, people might not be used to be asking that question and don't necessarily know the answer, but might kind of figure out in terms of how the experience that work or or being involved Um, yeah

Just feeling comfortable enough to ask that question, I think provides a really good foundation and goes a long way. Thanks, Jack. Do you have any questions for me? Um, I'd like to ask one of them back to you that you asked to me of what you are in terms of society and bigger picture

What direction do you see co production going in and its potential? So from for me, I think that coproduction offers us because I think the problems that we have in the world, um, exists within co production as well. So, like co production is a mirror of the world, and I think through co producing what you can do is enable people to have really good lives. So I think who lives it knows it

And I think to what you were saying that it is completely. And I think it's bonkers that we have lots of people that have no experience of a particular thing. If that's the service, the local area or a policy that impacts individuals, communities and society designing it because I think you get it wrong

I think it doesn't enable us all to live as human beings with freedom, choice, control and doing things that are important to us. So if I think about that kind of policy around employment, or that the fact that we have environmental barriers that affect disabled people, so I think the more co production we do. The more that we and I see co production is like If you design it from the beginning, you'll get it right for everyone because everyone will be there

And that's why I think we'll start having a society where people feel safe. People feel welcome. People feel able to do their best

And we don't look at people all in the same way. So one person's contribution versus another person's contribution have both equal weight. They're just coming from it from a different place, and I think it personally

I think it will help us not go to some of these dark times that we have in society. You know, where disabled people being locked institutions or certain groups of people have been killed because of their, um, religion or culture. And I think those things are really important

And I think for me that really speaks to co production is when you have everyone working together. Good night. Yeah, yeah, I agree

And it made me think About what? About what? What whether or not it's a value, but like a perspective that kind of like sits behind. That is for me, is being being humble. Whether that be is whether that be a on any scale, whether that be a government or whether it be an institution or an organisation or professional

What sits behind that is yeah, they need to be humble in terms of acknowledging the gaps in your the gaps in your knowledge and the gaps in your experience and that kind of saying of like, everyone knows something you don't, um and you know, it's hard one for me, Jack. And then it's a hard one for me. Jack Crescent

Yeah, humble, inhuman is very important. Like kids. I don't know

I see that co production is like a bit of a jigsaw saying, Look, if you want to get to the picture, yes, have all those bits and then go around bashing all the bits into holes and we'll get somewhere and it won't be the picture, and it won't be really what we want. There's this interdependency that comes with human beings coming together. Yeah, agreed

So if you haven't got any more questions, I can stop recording their Yeah, sure,.

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