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Category Co-production
Resource type Factsheet
Publishing body C4PC

Co-production in communications

Co-production in communications poster
Co-producing communications is valuable because:
  • Having a person with lived experience involved in any campaign design can better connect an organisation to its audience.
  •  Co-production is an essential part of addressing health inequalities. When done well, co-production can add credibility to your communications.
  • Co-produced communications are more likely to be more meaningful for target audiences.
  • This may generate increased reach and engagement. Although co-production with lived experience experts may be more difficult and demanding than other levels of engagement or participation, such as with representative bodies or service providers, it is worth the extra effort and/or cost.
  • Through co-production, organisations can learn what helps people to engage with them and what hinders people from doing so, what makes them feel ‘safe’ and friendly, and what might create barriers or anxieties.
Things to remember when co-producing communications:
  • It is important to make sure that the approach to co-production is genuine and not tokenistic. Refer to the resources section for guidelines on co-producing in genuine and respectful ways.
  • Co-production should be implemented at all levels, from strategy to specific projects. By involving someone with lived experience in communications strategy at the outset or briefing stage, you can steer the messaging and make it more impactful.
  • Ensuring that planning starts with the person rather than the strategy keeps the focus on what works for the intended audience and the best way to engage them.
  • Co-production should be present at the planning stage of design. Creating a document and then asking for consultation afterwards is not co-production.
  • Co-production is not universally practiced. Many organisations are in the early stages of increasing co production and are unsure of the best way to proceed. Recognising that partner organisations may be at different stages in their co-production journey may be helpful in working collaboratively.
  • To be done well, co-production needs adequate space. Building in additional time for project implementation ensures that co-production can be carried out fully and effectively.
  • Consideration needs to be given to making co-production as easy as possible. This may include removing barriers by having a single point of contact, working out a clear plan, and thinking about accessibility.
  • Accessibility issues can hinder co-production. Consider utilising different mediums or channels, such as digital or in-person meetings, according to individual needs. Technology is a useful tool to assist co production but can also present challenges.
  • It can be difficult to attract people to co-production, often people don’t realise that their voice is important and can make a difference. Every effort should be made to empower lived experience voices.
  • People with lived experience may not always feel confident or have the skills to present their ideas articulately. Offering validation of their experience and training to build skills may enable them to speak more freely and effectively, and may also be a way to demonstrate the importance of their input.
  • It is important to show that co-production is valued by paying people with lived experience appropriately where possible, or offering alternative reciprocal benefits such as training or recognition.