Co-Production and Yarrow

The right direction

Co-production is about people sharing power to design, plan and deliver support together. It is built on the belief that everyone has the skills and expertise to design and commission services. Co-production at Yarrow is about ‘doing things together’ not just ‘talking about things’. We are not only interested in hearing about people’s ideas and insights; we also want to work actively with people so that we can ‘co-produce’ new models of service together.

Before the Care Act 2014, local authorities had sole responsibility for designing and commissioning services with some input from local people. But since the Act, local authorities now have a duty to co-produce services. This change has radical implications for the way in which health and social care services will be commissioned in the future. It provides exciting opportunities for people with learning disabilities to have real choice and control over their lives and services; something Yarrow has been fighting for for more than 30 years.

At Yarrow we believe that co-production works best where providers are small and local. This is because local providers like Yarrow are highly invested in their communities and have a strong community presence. Over the last 30 years, Yarrow has built strong and lasting relationships with key stakeholders in each of the communities where we work. We are known and trusted by local people, which is one of the fundamental requirements of co-production.

Co-production in practice

In one of the London boroughs where we work have co-produced a new service model which aims to change a traditional block contract into 55 Individual Service Funds (ISFs). The model we have co-produced is called ‘Direct Your Support’ and it has been designed by the people we support, commissioners, families, Yarrow staff and experts by experience. The delivery of Direct Your Support began in July 2018 and we are really excited about implementing it over the next three years.

The new model has been co-produced to have two key stages:

Stage 1: Transformation Stage

This stage will last for 12 months. During this period we will co-produce services at an individual level with 55 people and their circles of support. Each person will identify what outcomes they want to achieve with their personal budget. We are using a process called ‘Planning Live’ which is co-productive by nature and involves everyone in a person’s network coming together to support them to identify their key outcomes.

Stage 2: Market Shaping Stage

Once a person has identified the outcomes they want to achieve they will then use another co-production tool called ‘The Right Support’. This will enable them to identify who they want to support them to achieve each outcome and how they want to commission this support. Yarrow as the ISF holder will then support people to identify an individual or a provider and support them to negotiate costs and contracts. If no support is available in the borough Yarrow will support the 55 people to jointly procure services. So for example if 44 of the 55 people wanted to get a job and no support was available in the borough, Yarrow would support those 44 people to pool budgets and commission a provider.

New ways of working

Direct Your Support will have big implications for Yarrow, but we are really excited to be challenged to develop new models of delivery and new ways of working. Co-production has been the cornerstone of this new development and through it we have been totally invigorated by exploring new ways of working and developing new relationships with commissioners and the people we support.

2018 is going to be a full-on year for Direct Your Support. We are excited to see the type of outcomes that people will identify and how they want to achieve them. We know change will be challenging but that has never prevented Yarrow from fully committing to the aspirations of the people we support.  As the Direct Your Support takes root we will continue to blog in order to share our learning and celebrate the achievements of the people we support.

Yarrow’s key purpose is to enable people with learning disabilities to flourish and we believe that Direct Your Support will enable people to remain totally in control of how their choices are acted upon and achieved.

Co-production: the future

Yarrow would love to explore co-production in other London boroughs. If you are a commissioner and you want to discuss Direct Your Support in more detail then please contact and Raj will be happy to discuss your ideas.

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