Leading on from Mark’s post on Co-production I want to look at perceptions and truths around how transparent commissioning is.
Anecdotally we often hear views that services are commissioned, tendered etc. without any reference to users, to the provider, delivery professionals or communities in general.
Why is this? Are local authorities, health, police and central government still intrinsically still paternalistic and how has different politically driven policy changes changed society’s view on the “nanny state”. We look at the attempts over the last 20 years including:
- Back to Basics – From the Major administration
- Changes in FOI and data protection legislation – Blair administration
- Devolution and community rights - Coalition
- Red tape challenge and Open data/transparency – Coalition
How far have these policy changes enabled real co-production and co-design of services for the benefit of communities, by communities, for communities. Rightly they have allowed communities to ask questions and seek information and answers to questions. But do these changes allow access to those commissioners who are designing those very services?
Do any of these policies make the engagement and understanding of the commissioner ask any easier? What are the policy and the statutory barriers to co-production and how should we work together to overcome these barriers? We look at our own processes in Cornwall Council and already we can see how problematic it can be sometimes to even engage with commissioners internally, never mind the aspiration to work in a co-production way with our partners and providers.
In my experience, there a number of enlightened commissioners who plough the furrow of co-production; However to the majority of providers and the communities they serve, the rest are arguably invisible and still appear to hold all the aces.
Taken from All the Aces by Motorhead - Ian “lemmy” Kilminster and Edward Clarke