At our recent coproduction conference, we asked all the attendees to write down some of the words that they felt were most important when considering coproduction (design of services in a way which allows equal input from the people who use those services as well as those who deliver, fund or facilitate them). The finished list was used by poet Adam Montgomery to inspire the following poem, which we’re publishing now to mark SCIE‘s Coproduction Week (4th-8th July 2016).

Coproduction what is it and what does it mean to you?
Asking the question brought a long list or words to work through.
Questioning is key, and language important in understanding
Mutuality, respect and equality is what we are demanding.
Listening to people and helping them share, there’s value in each voice.
It will take effort, challenge status quo and help give people a choice.
What does coproduction mean and how do we start the sharing?
Working together to develop services, knowing those in power are caring.
Sharing the power and redistributing whilst acknowledging and overcoming fears.
Dealing with issues in a productive ways that hopefully doesn’t bring tears.
Changing traditions, challenging status quo & people with own agendas.
Thinking about the language we use. everyone’s of value remember.
It can be bespoke and should be tailored to needs of those involved.
Togetherness and mutuality, working in partnership so problems are solved.
Togetherness and partnership, co-operation to get things done.
People participating, inclusively, and maybe even having fun?
Working with clients, losing labels, all in it together for progress..
Addressing prejudice, vested interests and power balances with co-operation and openness.
How do we develop awareness and use language accessible to all?
Coproduction is essential for everyone, it shouldn’t be tokenistic and small.
Fear of change and fear in general can make people shudder at the thought
But with all participating there’s many lessons from each to be taught.
Ignorance, words, concerns and impatience might bring a negative stance
Though by challenging stigma and discrimination mindful of language we stand a good chance.
Valuing mutuality, clients at centre and involved throughout.
Gathering voices of all from quiet people to those who shout
Keeping people connected, people are assets we can all progress.
The future is brighter together, is it positive? I’d say yes.
Coproduction is essential and theirs many barriers to overcome.
Like people wanting to retain power and worries of sharing it with some.
Challenging status quo & impatience, changing processes and tradition.
The establishment is changing in many areas coproduction has been missing
But by utilising vitality and making efforts to involve all in a way that suit them
We can embrace mutuality getting things done & all shine like a gem.
Giving encouragement and valuing input, enabling people to share.
Aiming for equality in a client centred way, we’ve all got great insight in there.
It’s about social networks, develop, maintain, embrace reciprocity
If I can do this for you, can you do that for me?
Co-operating collaboratively on big stuff and little stuff
Balancing power and problems without struggles causing a huff.
Services need to be available, enthusiastic and keen
Valuing clients input, helping develop goals and a shared dream.
Money matters but can we overcome its constraints by pooling resources together?
Some might want to retain power but raising awareness could help that endeavour.
Giving people voices, responsibility and chances to act.
Asking for inputs and handling responses with dignity and tact.
Developing understanding, the power of one conversation at a time.
Realise that by consulting all, the outcomes can be sublime.
Find out who can do what and give their skills a chance to bloom
Allow responsibility to be shared so together we overcome gloom.
Value working differently, there’s more than one way to skin a cat
Just because the provider thinks it’s should be done one way doesn’t mean the discussion should end at that.
Get involved, involve others, be inclusive and fair.
Asset based community development will help us to get there.
Now you’ve all contributed to the coproduction of this poem here
Hope I managed to fit in all you’re words sorry if it’s one you don’t hear.
Forgive me if so & remember we’re all human with great values and flaws.
Take your commitments into the community and now I’ll stop reading and deal with applause.

Coproduction Poem from Touchstone on Vimeo.