In celebration of National Co-Production Week, we invited some partners from the Local Authority to reflect and share with us how co-production has helped them deliver services to SEND (Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities) families in Manchester.

Below is a message from Maureen Howell, Manchester City Council’s SEND Engagement and Young Carers Lead, who shares with us some insight of our co-production work with the Local Offer and Short Break teams.

Co-production week serves as a timely reminder of the importance of working together and developing strong partnerships with parents, carers, children and young people.

In March 2018, together with Manchester Parent Carer Forum (MPCF) and our Parent Champions, we launched our SEND co-production charter. The development of this came from a discussion with MPCF about how we could embed a model of co-production across all our work and ensure a consistent approach. The development of the charter was in itself an excellent example of partnership working bringing together: representatives from the MPCF, Parent Champions, Health, Education, Social Care and the voluntary sector.

Through a number of workshops and conversations came the realisation that we all share the same vision for “brighter futures and better lives” for our children and young people and our best chance of achieving this is through working together. The Charter outlines our shared values and principles and a commitment from us all to ensure this provides the framework for everything we do.

Never has working in co-production with our families been more important than right now as our families are faced with unprecedented challenges. Through co-production, our partnership with parents and carers has gone from strength to strength. We have witnessed some amazing examples of what we can achieve when we all work together. Finding solutions through pooling our resources, experiences and knowledge.

Below are some examples of our recent co-production activity:

We have also worked closely with our parent carer forum and Parent Champions to co-produce the summer offer working with universal services and specialist providers. This includes innovative and creative use of outdoor spaces, family social bubbles, ceramic arts projects for those who are shielding, family cycling projects and many more exciting opportunities.

On behalf of the Local Offer and Short Breaks team, we would like to thank MPCF and Manchester Parent Champions for their resilience and willingness to work with us and we look forward to our continued partnership.

About Co-Production Week

Co-production Week is an annual celebration of the benefits of co-production; sharing good practice and promoting the contribution of people who use services and carers in developing better public services.

Co-production is about working in equal partnership with people using services, carers, families and citizens. It offers the chance to transform education, health and social care provision “to a model that offers people real choice and control.”

On its fifth edition, this year’s theme is “Co-production in a changing world”.

Below is a video from the Social Care Institue for Excellence (SCIE) about Co-production Week 2020: