Yarrow’s Director of Care and Support, Raj Mungur, talks about co-production at Yarrow, and how it is central to our ethos and has been incorporated at every stage of providing support.
Co-production is central to our ethos and we have a strong focus on sharing power to design, plan and deliver support together. Co-production at Yarrow is about ‘doing things together’ not just ‘talking about things’. We seek to work actively with people so that we can ‘co-produce’ new models of service together. 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 at Yarrow
In one of the London boroughs where we work we 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 will be implemented over three years.
The first stage, the Transformation Stage, is already complete. During this period we co-produced services at an individual level with the 55 people that we support within the borough, and their circles of support. We used a process called Planning Live, an approach we were trained in by Helen Sanderson Associates, which is co-productive by nature and is about making sure that the people we support have involvement in every part of their lives.
We held three Planning Live events. At each event we gathered together the people we support with their circle of support, including their support workers, family and friends, and other professional people that they know. We spent a full day exploring their talents and contributions, what makes them tick, what they enjoy and their aspirations. In total we worked with all 55 people that we support within the borough.
We asked questions like “What do people like about me?”, “What is important to me?” and “Where do I like to go?”. We built up a picture of everyone’s unique gifts, talents, and the resources that they can share, so that we can support them to take their rightful place in their community.
From this we created a Plan Book for each individual, which includes a picture of “My Perfect Week”: how they would like every day to be, from morning into night-time.
Stage 2: Market Shaping
We are now into stage 2 of the process, the Market Shaping Stage, and have recently appointed our first full time Market Shaper and Coordinator. Using another co-production tool, The Right Support, our Market Shaper will be working to identify who can provide the support so that people can achieve their aspirations. They will also explore how people want to commission this support. We are creating a list of preferred suppliers within our area that can offer the services that the people we support want and need. We will then support people to negotiate costs and contracts, and if no such support is available, we will support them to jointly procure services.
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. We know change will be challenging but that has never prevented Yarrow from fully committing to the aspirations 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.