This blog was written recently for (and featured in) Skills for Care Registered Manager newsletter (February 2024 Edition). We thought it might be useful to share it with our wider audience here at Imagineer!

Sarah Holmes is Director for Development and Communications at Imagineer, an independent organisation working towards self-directed support in the UK and internationally, and one of Skills for Care’s endorsed learning providers.

Here, Sarah takes a look at some of the context for approaching co-production and personalisation in your service, and how to start developing a strategy that incorporates these approaches.

Co-production is an increasingly familiar word in the world of adult social care. Following the introduction of the new CQC Single Assessment Framework, we expect to see a strong emphasis on providers being able to demonstrate how they co-produce their services with the people they support. Perhaps what is being emphasised less, is the link between co-production and personalisation.

Personalisation is not a new idea for the adult social care sector in England. Since the introduction of the Valuing People white paper in 2001 and then the Putting People First concordat in 2010, the sector is very familiar with the concept of person-centred planning and personalised approaches to accessing and funding social care.

Let’s look at some descriptions for both of these concepts:

Person Centred Planning (PCP)

The Foundation for people with learning disabilities states:
“Person-centred planning (PCP) provides a way of helping a person plan all aspects of their life, thus ensuring that the individual remains central to the creation of any plan which will affect them.”

From the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) website:
“Each person’s needs and choices will be unique to them. This means that staff must do all they can to help the person convey their personal aspirations and goals, and the support they need. Creating the care plan with the person or their chosen representative will keep the focus on what is important to that individual and will enable their care and support to reflect this”.


From Think Local Act Personal’s website:
“The term co-production refers to a way of working, whereby everybody works together on an equal basis to create a service or come to a decision which works for them all”.

NHS England’s website states:
“Co-production is a way of working that involves people who use health and care services, carers and communities in equal partnership; and which engages groups of people at the earliest stages of service design, development and evaluation.

Co-production acknowledges that people with ‘lived experience’ of a particular condition are often best placed to advise on what support and services will make a positive difference to their lives. Done well, co-production helps to ground discussions in reality, and to maintain a person-centred perspective.”

If you reflect on these four descriptions, you will notice some common themes between person-centred planning and co-production:

  • Individuality
  • Choice
  • Control
  • Sharing power
  • Equality
  • Collective decision-making

If you’re thinking about how to develop a co-production policy or strategy for your organisation, start by thinking about how person-centred approaches weave into your wider organisational decision-making, as well as the design and delivery of your services. Start with the individuals you support first, then embed the principles and approaches of coproduction at a wider organisational level.


  • Your governance arrangements. Is there any representation from the people you support on your board?
  • How do you as an organisation communicate both internally and externally? Are you accessible? Is the information you share including everyone, so that they can be involved equally?
  • Has your organisation’s mission statement, values and strategy been shaped by or alongside the people you support, so that it represents them well?

Imagineer provides training, resources and support to enable people to self-direct their own care and support arrangements, and to build community connections. They also work with organisations to help them develop their work to enable more people to self-direct. For more information, visit our Imagineer website or email:

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