Coproduction blog series: Medequip and coproduction – what have I learned?

13 April 2022 · Categories: Innovators Learn, Opinions and responses

In this blog Paul Rackham, freelance consultant working alongside Medequip, looks at what you need to get started with ‘coproduction’…


You know when you try and stop yourself thinking about something?

I’m no different to most people, I love a blog or YouTube vid that enumerates the steps to whatever solution is needed. I have even done it myself Number 3. The future feeling of adult social care. (paulrackham.org) when I grandly claimed there were four VERY SPECIFIC issues people in social care needed to focus on in a post-Covid pandemic world.

So, when Community Catalysts asked me to write a blog on coproduction, I started compiling my list…

You see, I’ve been a very lucky guy this last year. Medequip is a private company whose mission is to help people stay independent for longer. They do this by providing Community Equipment Services and Technology Enabled Care Services in England and Wales and I’ve been helping Medequip on their journey to get better. In turn, we have been helped by some great people working for brilliant organisations…

…Like…

  • Huw Davies at the British Association of Supported Employment, who helped with inclusive employment practice and greater involvement of staff living with a disability.
  • Angela Catley and Pip Cannons of Community Catalysts who are helping put co-production at the heart of Medequip.
  • Susan Conquer and the staff and Members of Healthwatch Suffolk who have been tirelessly training Medequip teams so they can work with local people and groups.
  • And Martin Walker and the folk at Think Local, Act Personal, who have helped Medequip adopt Making it Real as an improvement approach.
  • …To top that, people who use the services or are just interested in helping have been trusting us with their stories and their opinions.

So being an involved spectator of all this good stuff I felt pretty sure I could put together a damn fine list.

But, and it’s a very big BUT…….here is where the old noggin got going. For every item I had on my list, I could think of someone who could make the point better.

…I also wanted to squeeze in honesty, to self and others because it can be used to cover accountability, authenticity and transparency, but that would be going back on my plan to avoid a list…Because I no longer do lists!

Instead, I am going to keep it simple. Without putting that in the list.

…Just get people in the room…

…Personal or virtual. Physically, metaphorically, emotionally, spiritually, just make sure they are in the room. Not just showpiece events but real work meetings and day to day conversations.

Behaviour, language, honesty, the questions you are asking and the outcomes achieved, it changes everything when you work alongside people who use services.

Yes, there are lists of things to do to help things along when you are together, and there is a lot of help out there, but it all starts with the question “where are the people”?

Once you’ve answered that question you can make as many lists as you like.


You might be interested in the other blogs in our coproduction series:

Back to news