Evaluating Co:Create (2016-2019)

Co Create

Project title

Evaluating Co:Create (2016-2019).


South Yorkshire Housing Association/Department of Health Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund.

Who is leading this research?

Amy Barnes and Janet Harris.

Project details

The Co:Create team at South Yorkshire Housing Association are working with commissioners in the health and social care field within South Yorkshire to change the way they commission services; redistributing power through a co-production process which seeks to ensure the voice of those receiving services, and particularly those who are seldom heard, are incorporated into commissioning. Janet and Amy are working with the Co:Create team to evaluate the Co:Create process, taking a developmental evaluation approach which seeks to produce real-time feedback to help adapt principles of practice.

While there is much interest and policy commitment to co-production across the countries of the UK, the evidence base on how co-production processes works, in what circumstances and with what outcomes is still limited. This project aims to add to the evidence base of what works in relation to co-production.


September 2016 – June 2019

Expected outputs

Outputs will be co-produced with the Co:Create team and local commissioners and service users throughout the process. We will be co-producing programme theories/systems models for a number of selected projects at the start of the process, and revisiting these and reflecting on successes, issues and ways forward throughout. We will also co-produce annual reports and a final report with the Co:Create team, commissioners and service users.



Good practice in the co-production of commissioned services within adult social care

Good Practice by Ron Mader https://www.flickr.com/photos/planeta/24569983877

Project title

Good practice in the co-production of commissioned services within adult social care


Skills for Care Workforce Development Innovation Fund

What are the aims of this project?

The aim is to evaluate whether the involvement of stakeholders in review and co-design of a modified Direct Payment Support Service for Disability informs changes in the design of the service and removes barriers to accessing payment.

How will the research be carried out?

Developmental evaluation is being used, which produces real-time or close to real-time feedback, allowing stakeholders to use the learning within the lifespan of the initiative to adapt principles of practice (Quinn Patton 2015). We will collect information to inform the approach to co-production, the ability of co-production to identify issues with the existing service, and the creation of a Direct Payment Support Service (DPSS) model that contains solutions to enabling people to feel more in control of direct payment.


Due to be completed in April 2017.

Who is undertaking the research?

Disability Sheffield Centre for Independent Living

Project Lead: Emily Morton


School of Health & Related Research

Lead Evaluator: Janet Harris


How are stakeholders being engaged?

Disability Sheffield Centre for Independent Living is a membership and user led organisation, run and controlled by disabled people. Service users, workers, managers and commissioners will be engaged in identifying barriers to using the payment scheme and generating solutions together. Participatory approaches are being used to involve everyone in reflecting on the process of co-production, including

  • Ability to create a level playing field, where the voice of different types of stakeholders is represented
  • Ability to facilitate dialogue and reflection across diverse people and groups
  • Transparency in collecting information and showing people how it is going to be used
  • Involvement of stakeholders in decisions about how to use information to inform service development
  • Ability to negotiate conflict and resolve issues

What will be the outputs from the study?

A model for the service which enables people to be more in control of managing their payments.

A good practice guide on using co-production to inform user-centred commissioning.

Communities in Control

Big Local

What are the aims of this project?
This study aims to evaluate a Lottery-funded initiative – the Big Local – that aims to give residents in disadvantaged neighbourhoods a bigger say over what happens and how resources are used to improve their local area.  Big Local is run by Local Trust and is taking place in 150 communities across England over the next 15 years.

Why is this important?
Past research suggests that low control may be a fundamental cause of inequalities in health. However, we know little about how to support greater control, particularly at the level of communities. We also need to know more about how and why control impacts on health and its social determinants. The Big Local presents a great opportunity to learn more about effective ways to support greater control by communities.

How will the research be carried out?

There will be two phases. Phase one involves:

  1. Detailed case studies across 10 Big Local sites and analysis of quantitative data to describe the neighbourhood contexts and early experiences in different places.
  2. Interviews and document analysis at national level to describe how the Big Local intervention is expected to work.
  3. Design of methods to evaluate the impact of Big Local on health and wellbeing in the longer term (Phase two).

 Timeframe: January 2014-March 2017

Professor Jennie Popay of Lancaster University leads our team of researchers from LiLaC,  Cambridge, Exeter, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, FUSE and Sheffield.  Here in SPHR@Sheffield we are currently conducting case studies in two Big Local sites in Yorkshire.

How are stakeholders being engaged?
In case study sites residents are consulted on the conduct of the study and in some areas Community Researchers are directly engaged. Local advisory groups provide critical commentary and findings will be shared widely as they emerge. Local Trust guides and supports the work.

What will be the outputs from the study?
Resources for public health practitioners and local neighbourhoods will be produced, focusing on:

  • The links between collective control and health inequalities;
  • Factors influencing public health actions in low income neighbourhoods;
  • Lessons about community engagement/empowerment;
  • Small area monitoring systems;

Presentations and papers from the project will be listed here.

Find out more here