The beginning of the journey of the Co-Production Advisory Group
A key element of IMPACT, the UK evidence centre for adult social care, is the commitment to co-production in all aspects of its work. The first step towards this commitment involved the Co-Production Advisory Group, and their group Charter.
The Co-Production Advisory Group’s role is to develop, support, monitor and review IMPACT’s co-production activity, producing an annual report for the Leadership Team on progress made during the year, areas of good practice and areas for further development. This work is supported by the Lived Experience Engagement Lead, Karen McCormick.
“Quite often when new groups come together for the very first time, it can be a challenge to gel. We are all a little bit nervous and perhaps unsure of each other’s circumstances. However, this was not the case with IMPACT’s new Co-Production Advisory Group. They are an animated, confident and lively bunch – this bodes well for us as a group.” Karen explained.
Creating a Charter
A charter is a nice way to document how we intend to collaborate together and our guiding principles. It’s a way of acknowledging the work we have to do, such as project objectives and the parameters we have to work within, but also allowing space for members of the group to have their say on how we approach it and work together.
“My approach to starting a charter is to include the knowns, leaving space for the unknowns and being open to the aspirations.” Karen tells us.
“The knowns are the practical things such as structures, definitions, the fact that we need to have 3 meetings this year and produce and annual report. The unknowns are things like the topics we are going to discuss and the schedule for this. Unknowns are also things like the shared vision for the work of the group, the strengths and assets of the group and the language we use and barriers to participation. Suggestions around practical tips for working together online, communicating and engaging are also included in the early version.
“These were collated into a draft charter (a working document) and presented as suggestions to get us started at the induction meeting – the first coming together of the co-production advisory group – all subject to change through engagement and agreement among members of the group. Ideally with more time, we would come with a blank page but we have a lot of work to do in a short space of time.”
A Living Document
It is intended that the charter will be a living document. Just like charting any course, it will need revision – the group will have waypoints, needing to check where they are and if they are heading in the intended direction. It is hoped that by the end of the first working year together all members of the co-production advisory group respect the journey, and recognise each other and themselves as valued members of the crew.