Executive summary

This guide provides practical support on co-production. This means working with users to develop health information that meets their needs.


Why this matters

Co-production consistently improves patient experience. It ensures information is relevant, easy to understand and accessible. This makes it more likely people will use and share your resources.


Step up levels of user involvement

  • Engage – Invite users to give their views
  • Co-design – Plan and design information together
  • Co-produce – Plan, design, create and review information with users as equal members of the team.


Plan user engagement

  • Plan user involvement throughout your project
  • Describe users’ roles and responsibilities
  • Ensure users match your audience – include those with lower health literacy[1] and disadvantaged people[2]
  • Include a budget to pay people for their time[3], but be aware of the impact on Universal Credit payments[4]
  • Consider safeguarding.[5]


Use the right method for the task or stage

  • Steering groups
  • Focus groups
  • Engagement events and development workshops
  • Surveys and interviews.


Run effective engagement

  • Use plain language in all materials
  • Choose an independent facilitator who understands the user group
  • Run sessions in familiar, accessible settings6
  • Set objectives for each engagement
  • Be flexible, new issues may emerge
  • Thank users and show how you have acted on their insights.


User testing and feedback

  • Test with users not involved in the development
  • Invite feedback on live projects.


This guide supports the PIF TICK assessment process for criteria:

  • 3.0 Need: Resources meet a genuine need.
  • 5.0 Involving users: Users are involved in the development of information.
  • 6.0 Health inequalities: Information is written to meet health and digital literacy, language and accessibility needs of the audience.
  • 7.0 Content and design: Information is clearly communicated, easy to access and navigate.


Executive Summary references

  1. library.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2023/06/Health-Literacy-Toolkit.pdf
  2. https://pifonline.org.uk/resources/posters/health-literacy-matters-infographic/
  3. nice.org.uk/get-involved/our-committees/what-lay-members-do/lay-member-payments-and-expenses
  4. nice.org.uk/get-involved/our-committees/what-lay-members-do/lay-member-payments-and-expenses/how-lay-member-payments-affect-benefits
  5. assets-global.website-files.com/5ffee76a01a63b6b7213780c/651411b1bac81e3451940a0a_Co-Production%20Collective%20Safeguarding%20Statement%20.pdf
  6. england.nhs.uk/ourwork/accessibleinfo

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Co-production matters step up levels of user involvement

Co-production matters