Levels of user involvement/partnership[1]

Engage – Invite users to give views

Co-design – Plan and design information together

Co-produce – Plan, design, create and review information with users as equal members of the team


Involve users in a meaningful way. Embrace the process – it’s easier than you think. Starting small is better than not involving users at all.


Plan engagement

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


Use the right method for the task/stage

  • surveys
  • individual interviews
  • engagement events
  • focus groups
  • development workshops


Run sessions effectively

  • Use plain language in all materials
  • Choose an independent facilitator who understands the user group
  • Run sessions in familiar, accessible settings[6]
  • Set objectives for each engagement
  • Be flexible, new issues may emerge
  • Thank users, give feedback and updates


Co-produce health information whenever you can.


User testing/feedback

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


Work with users – make health information easy to use, accessible and relevant.



  1. pifonline.org.uk/resources/how-to-guides/involving-users
  2. england.nhs.uk/ltphimenu/personalised-care/national-health-literacy-toolkit/
  3. pifonline.org.uk/resources/publications/health-literacy-matters-infographic
  4. nice.org.uk/get-involved/our-committees/what-lay-members-do/lay-member-payments-and-expenses
  5. nice.org.uk/get-involved/our-committees/what-lay-members-do/lay-member-payments-and-expenses/how-lay-member-payments-affect-benefits
  6. england.nhs.uk/ourwork/accessibleinfo/


Published by the Patient Information Forum Ltd. April 2021. Review date: April 2023.


Download the poster

Co-production matters step up levels of user involvement

Co-production matters