The term ‘co-production’ was coined originally at the University of Indiana in the 1970s by Professor Elinor Ostrom who used the term as a way of explaining why the police need the community as much as the community need the police. It was used again in the UK by Anna Coote (Institute for Public Policy Research) to explain why doctors need patients as much as patients need doctors and that, when that relationship is forgotten, both sides fail. It was then developed and deepened by Professor Edgar Cahn, the Washington civil rights lawyer, to show how important neighbourhood level support systems are - families and communities - and how they can be rebuilt. Cahn recognized that these critical family and community relationships were a second economy. Economists have since demoted it by calling it the non-market economy. The environmental economist Neva Goodwin reversed the hierarchy by calling it the ‘core economy’.
Co-production points to ways in which we can rebuild and reinvigorate this core economy and realise its potential. The present manifesto shows how public services can play a part in making it happen. Its authors, Lucie Stephens, Josh Ryan-Collins and David Boyle, chart the development of co-production, its growth in the UK, and set out a ten point plan for what could be, in effect, the biggest revolution in social policy since William Beveridge introduced the welfare state.
Read the document (650 KiB)
Stephens, Lucie, Josh Ryan-Collins, and David Boyle.2008. Co-production: A Manifesto for growing the core economy.