Co-production What is co-production? Co-production has many definitions but generally speaking, it is a values driven approach that promotes organisations to work in equal partnership with service users to design and develop services. It recognises service users as experts with lived experience that have the knowledge to ensure that services are successful and fit for purpose. Although getting feedback from service users is a useful tool, co-production goes a step further in that it is rooted in the principle of equal power sharing where decisions are made collaboratively by organisations and experts by experience. What is Migrant Help doing? As part of our strategic aims, Migrant Help is committed to become an organisation that is truly led by our service users. We view our service users as experts on their own situation as they have lived experience of the asylum and immigration systems and the challenges this comes with on a day to day basis. We think experts by experience are best placed to evaluate our services so we can understand our impact, and work with us to design new ones to bridge gaps. To achieve co-production in a meaningful way, we are shifting our culture and creating space across the organisation for our service users to have an equal say on what our services and wider organisational activities should look like. This ensures that our services are more accessible, sustainable and responsive to people’s expressed needs. We are kickstarting our co-production journey by piloting a Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) within our Vulnerable Persons Resettlement (VPRS) Scheme service. This will consist of a group of VPRS service users that will help develop the service and review some of our policies and procedures. In the future, we hope to roll the LEAPs out to our asylum and modern-day slavery support services too. We are excited to see where this journey takes us, so please check back here for updates on how we are doing. Where can I go for co-production guidance? We are in the process of co-producing our own guidance with experts by experience and other charities, but there is a wealth of excellent online resources too. Here are some links that we have found useful: Refugee Action’s Experts by Experience Guidance – tips on creating lived experience groups and diversifying trustee boards Homeless Link Co-production Toolkit – to help services take steps towards introducing co-production Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) Co-production resources – for health and social care professionals, frontline practitioners, people who use services, and carers Rethink Mental Illness Co-production in Commissioning Guide – toolkit introducing co-production in commissioning, and a range of materials and ideas to develop co-productive ways of working National Co-production Week This year’s National Co-production Week is 05 – 09 July 2021, celebrating all things co-production. Our Involvement & Participation Manager has marked the occasion with a blog posted on the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) website. The blog explores how co-production can be used as a tool to promote anti-racism. If you’d like to find out more about Migrant Help’s Co-production work or would like to share your thoughts and ideas please email [email protected] VPRS Lived Experience Advisory Panel Case study – January 2022 What information did you receive before joining the panel? Before joining I received some practical information including that the panel will have six members who have benefited from resettlement. I was told that there will be opportunities to talk about my personal experiences in my country of origin, the country of displacement, the country of resettlement and the assistance I have received from Migrant Help. I was made aware that there are no conditions for accepting this membership and joining was completely my choice. The manager told me that members will have the opportunity to speak after the meeting if desired to make sure we felt supported. This process was useful as I felt like I was able to speak freely and give my opinions. What motivated you to join the meetings? I joined this meeting to give back a little bit of the kindness shown to me and my family by Migrant Help. The panel gives me the opportunity to provide a small service to the country that has helped me settle and find safety. I was also interested to learn more about Migrant Help and gain experience of how organisations are run in this country, so I can develop myself with this knowledge. What have the meetings covered? At the first meeting we discussed the meeting etiquette and new members were asked to set the rules together. This included things like speaking in turn, confidentiality, secrecy and no photography. I appreciated that there were good processes in place which meant everyone was equal and had value in the panel. During the induction, I learnt about matters related to the organisation, its components, reasons for its existence, its history, past and present, and its aspirations. We also discussed improving services by thinking about imaginary characters and their story before and after travelling to the UK. This helped me feel safe without worrying that people would know about my own experiences. What has your experience been like? I think the experience has been good because I learned things about Migrant Help that I would not have known otherwise. I’ve gained skills in decision-making, and this skill will help me make good decisions by involving other people. I also gained the ability to look at a topic from more than one side and the importance of listening to everyone’s opinion and accepting their points of view. I’ve enjoyed getting to know new people, exploring their way of thinking about life and benefiting from their experience. I aspire to be an active member of this panel and hope to continue presenting my best ideas and experience, as far as possible. I hope to offer something that will benefit anyone in the future that comes to this country seeking safety. I am looking forward to working more closely with Migrant Help staff and hear their opinion, which will also help improve services. I hope to get enough experience to manage my family's affairs myself without breaking the law.