Measuring Success in
Co-production: Learning by Doing programme

Funding and  support for eight projects within the themes of mental health, wellbeing and/or climate change in order to learn how best to evaluate co-production.

About 'Measuring Success in Co-production: Learning by doing'

Connecting and supporting people to work in equal partnership is our passion at
Co-Production Collective!

We’re motivated to understand the value that collaboration and working to the principles of
co-production offers individuals, communities, societies and culture.

This piece of work follows on from our previous Co-production Pilot Projects and the Value of Co-Production Research Project published in October 2022 which found that:

  • The impact of co-production is often under-explored.
  • Co-produced initiatives are rarely formally evaluated.

The programme includes funding for eight projects, each of which received £10,000-15,000. They also receive ongoing support from our co-production team, to co-produce, evaluate and share their knowledge within the wider programme.

It is supported by Co-production Collective, Co-producers with a range of lived experience, The Evaluation Exchange (a collaboration between UCL and Compost London), and our co-funders UCL Grand Challenges and The Academy of Medical Sciences.  

Programme Aim

Gain a better understanding of the conditions required for good co-production and evaluation across different mental health, wellbeing and/or climate change contexts and projects.

Objectives - how we intend to meet this aim

  • For Measuring Success Co-production Team:
    To develop a programme that achieves the aim through: 
    • providing a supportive funding offer and process, tailored to small co-produced projects.
    • building capabilities by supporting project teams throughout their co-production and evaluation journeys.
    • developing a collective output that captures and shares the knowledge and learning across all teams (including our team) to enhance our understanding, enabling us to share insights into the conditions needed for good co-production, and how to evaluate that.
  • For all project teams and the Measuring Success Co-production Team:
    For teams and individuals
    to explore this aim through:
    • developing knowledge and experience of co-producing a project.
    • deepening understanding of co-producing evaluations (in the context of a co-produced project).
    • learning about and applying self-evaluation (evaluating co-production processes).
    • contributing to an understanding of the conditions needed for effective co-production, including approaches to evaluation in co-production.

We co-produced the programme events and the funding application and review processes last year

Tuesday 12 September 2023 - 13.00-17:00 online Programme and  funding launch session. After Tuesday 12 September 2023 - we invite those interested in continuing the journey to submit an ‘Expression of interest’. Tuesday 17 October 2023 10:00-14:00- Networking, Connection and Development Workshop. After Tuesday 12 September 2023 - we will also have a limited number of accessibility funds available. Monday 27 November 2023 Application submission deadline. -Monday 11 December 2023  Notification of decisions. - Funded project work to be completed by July 2024.
Application timeline

The projects begin in January 2024. Since then, our team has been working with the project teams to support their co-production and evaluation activities.

Here is our most recent blog

  • Learning

  • February 22, 2024

Diving in: Reflections on evaluating ourselves

With our eight Measuring Success in Co-production project teams onboard and their projects under way, members of the Measuring Success in Co-production co-ordinating team share their experiences of working together to evaluate their own co-production approaches.

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We are delighted to introduce the 8 projects that we will be working with this year. We feel that the variety of the funded projects reflects the breadth of the different applications that were submitted. Our team have already started working with the individual project teams, and we look forward to sharing what we learn as the programme develops.

Co-producing an evaluation of the Aphasia New Music Group

Over 350,000 people live with aphasia in the UK. Aphasia refers to difficulties with speech, language and/or communication caused by a brain injury, such as a stroke. Aphasia has a profound impact on quality of life and emotional wellbeing, and long-term support is needed to overcome barriers to find new ways of doing things.

The Aphasia New Music Group (ANMG) is a collaboration between people with aphasia, family, musicians, and Speech and Language Therapists. To date, we have co-produced a music practice, with public performances and visits to community groups across the country. So far, co-production has been central to ANMG’s creative process, but not the way in which it is evaluated.

Through the Measuring Success in Co-production: Learning by Doing Programme we aim to co-produce a method of evaluating the impact of creative collaboration on the lives of people with aphasia.

We will learn whether creative music sessions benefit people in ways that matter to them. We will explore what these ways are, how best to measure them, and put this into practice. We will learn how co-production of this evaluation took place, including the experience of the process and the barriers and facilitators to success.

Our co-production team includes ANMG members with living experience of aphasia (Mark White, Chaz Kkoshi, Nick Cohu, Adam Schwartz, Sandie Karim, Haide Rollo, Colin Gunter, Lucy Orme, Biddy Partridge, Francesca Logi, Colin Lyall), the Artistic Director of Oedipa (Finn Beames) and researchers from University College London (Dr Michael Dean and Kerri Ichikowitz).

Closing the Loop Beyond the Loop: Strengthening Partnership Working in Mental Health with Meta-Co-Production

Our initiative, inspired by members of the Cavendish Square Group’s Lived Experience Advisory Group in collaboration with the pan-London 'Safety and Equality in Mental Health Inpatient Settings' (SEMHIS) project, aims to explore the concept and value of ‘Meta-Co-Production’ as a way of measuring success and strengthening mental health co-production.

Meta-co-production relates to the reflexive process of co-producing co-production itself and making sure we are learning from the experience of the process and closing this loop. We seek to evaluate the process from all angles, considering perspectives from staff, patients, and lived experience colleagues alike. Our objectives are to research and define what "good enough" co-production looks like in practice and to co-create a 360-degree Reflexive Learning Tool informed by lived experience-centred Success Standards. These standards will be drawn from current evidence, expertise, and creatively captured lived experience. This dynamic tool will be a way for organisations to assess and improve their standard of co-production, highlighting what is working well and what needs improvement. The prototype tool will be tested and honed across co-produced aspects of the SEMHIS project. The emphasis being on how to create optimal conditions for safe, effective, and sustainable collaboration without being prescriptive around methods.

We hope our project can help to bridge the gap between theory and practice and connect the 'islands of good practice'. With the Co-Production Collective's assistance, we want to elevate the voice of lived experience in co-production and translate these lessons into practical applications that minimise avoidable costs and provide an individualised roadmap towards excellence.

We look forward to sharing our insights within the Cavendish Square Group, through the Co-Production Collective, and beyond, as we collectively work towards enhancing the quality and impact of mental health co-production.

Co-Production from the Inside Out

Welcome to Co-Production from the Inside Out—a collaborative initiative focused on equality, empowerment, and wellbeing. Our collaboration between The Big Simple, Innate Health Research and people with lived experience (Susan Marmot, Lou Scott, Liliana Bellini, Derrick Mason, Siobhan Kunadu-Yiadom, Kate Sherwell, and Nici Butchart), envisions partnering with further organisations supporting vulnerable teens and families (such as women’s refuge, a family support team at a school, or a social services unit). Bringing our diverse lived experiences we will co-design a program, fostering a joint journey that evolves organically through active listening to others’ diverse experiences.

The anticipated, flexible plan is to co-develop a 6-week mental well-being course, using the Innate Health Approach, for parents or carers struggling with their own mental health as a result of dealing with their children/young people’s challenging issues and behaviours. Children and young people may be care experienced; on the edge of crime or school exclusions; exhibiting damaging, addictive or risky behaviours. In order to facilitate and deliver the programme with the intended impacts, the project will specifically address how we work together in a co-productive way to engage with community organisations and beneficiaries.  

By “Inside-Out” we refer to the two cornerstones of our work in the mental health field which guide the Innate Health Approach.

• We all have a deeper sense of knowing, an inner guidance. A wisdom we are born with that can never be damaged or lost.

• Our moment-to-moment experience of life (our feelings) is 100% a product of our moment-to-moment thinking and not a product of external circumstances or past events.

From engagement to delivery, our co-production process will support equitable partnerships between the team, partner organisations, and vulnerable teens/families. Guided by participant voices, we create a softer space for open dialogue, encouraging the sharing of lived experiences. Truthful storytelling in this safe shared space leads to impactful insights and positive change. We look forward to discovering through evaluation the power of the collaborative journey to create solutions and promote well-being from within.

Improving Student Mental Health: University of Warwick

The UK has a mental health crisis, particularly among young people. Within Higher Education, universities increasingly face pressure to address this escalating mental health challenge. Yet, conventional support structures frequently find it challenging to adapt to students’ changing needs and preferences.

At the University of Warwick, we want to test a new approach to improving student mental health. As part of this collaboration with students and Social Origin, we’ll bring together staff and students with lived experience to co-produce changes that students recognise. We’ll focus on the needs and experiences of students, working in partnership to explore, design and test potential improvements to see what works.

We want the project to create a partnership model for inclusive and equitable co-production within a university setting, paving the way for future collaborations at Warwick and beyond. To achieve this, we believe it’s important to focus on creating a positive, supportive, and reflective environment, guided by the principles of co-production. This is particularly important given social attitudes towards mental health and that some people lack the confidence to engage in the topic.

Our aim is that everyone involved benefits from the project. Students will have an equal voice in shaping the support systems they rely on, while staff will develop their skills and confidence in engaging with students about mental health.

Finally, the project's impact is designed to extend beyond Warwick. We’ll invite the project team to share their experiences and learning through events on campus and our Substack, educating and guiding others to embrace co-production as a powerful tool for enhancing student mental health support and the wider student experience.

Tri-diagnosis: raising the profile of dual diagnosis and homelessness.

This project is a collaboration between people with lived experience, Pathway and Change Communication.

At Pathway we have a newly established lived experience group – building on our own long experience of involving people with direct experiences of the issues we campaign on.

Four new group members will be working alongside two Pathway staff members, Mandy and Sophie. We have also partnered with Leigh from Change Communications to help us think about better ways to deliver our findings, enabling our voices to have maximum impact.

We aim to improve the lives of people living with dual diagnosis – which means experiencing addiction and a mental health condition at the same time – while homeless. We will deepen understanding by learning from people with experience of dual diagnosis. We will share current medical guidelines alongside our findings to a range of people, including frontline workers in the homelessness sector.

We know that co-producing can have positive impacts on the well-being of all those involved. Being an equal member of a group, sharing power, recognising that each person brings assets and prizing those assets can help self-development, awareness and esteem. Enabling a person to feel empowered and believe in their abilities can set the foundations for personal progress, something we value most at Pathway.

We look forward to the learning that the Co-Production Collective can bring, guiding us to be better at including people and connecting with others with the same goal: finding better ways for those whose lives are often harmed by treatment that does not really meet their needs. Together we aim for better, together we are better.

Exploring how neurodivergence interacts with maintaining eco-hope and taking climate action for those studying and / or working in sustainability-related areas.

At Nifty Sustainability, we support individuals and organisations to embed sustainability in their practices. Through our work, we’ve observed that many people involved in sustainability identify as neurodivergent, often bringing with them important skills and characteristics such as profound empathy, creativity and systems thinking. However, working in the context of climate, ecological and social emergencies takes its toll and can lead to a loss of hope and paralysis around what to do and how to do it.

Our project aims to explore how neurodivergence interacts with taking climate action and maintaining eco-hope in those studying and/or working in sustainability-related areas. Our project team includes people working closely with the University of Leeds and Shipley Climate Action Group with lived experience of neurodivergence and anxiety, and we plan to engage a further small but diverse group of individuals along the way. With this group we will explore and better understand lived experience of neurodivergence, taking climate action and maintaining eco-hope. With this increased understanding, we aim to co-produce a creative and accessible resource to support this group in their sustainability-related work.

Through our project, we hope to provide a safe space to explore experiences and ideas, and build community, as well as co-developing ways to support neurodivergent folk working in sustainability-related fields in future. We are very excited about applying and evaluating co-production in a context where it is actively encouraged and resourced, and about the potential for learning in the context of neurodivergence!

The Symptoms of Diagnostic Labelling – Re-evaluating the language used in mental health. An evaluation of co-production in action.

Devised by experts by experience in collaboration with the Psychological Professions Network and University of East Anglia, our project is dedicated to implementing changes in the use of diagnostic labelling* within mental health. Through a co-production approach coordinated by our team (Jeremiah Osei-Tutu, Maggie Rosairo, Kevin Minier and Louise Crouch-Read), we foster inclusive practices by engaging diverse stakeholders, including individuals with lived experiences, psychological professionals and academics. At every stage of the project we will evaluate the effectiveness and satisfaction of the co-production process.

The objective of our project is to provoke a shift in practice by reducing the use of harmful language and minimise psychological professionals’ overreliance on diagnostic labels as a means of defining people.

Achieving our project's objective will ultimately result in a range of benefits comprising improved service user well-being, health outcomes and quality of life, more personalised and effective clinical care and enhanced staff satisfaction and welfare. Diagnostic labelling and any assumptions that may follow from them can stigmatise service users and families (informal carers) and slow-down recovery and create stress.

To achieve our aim, we will co-produce content for a cognitive behaviour therapy diploma course. Our content provides trainee psychological professionals with a better understanding of the impact of their language on people they treat and showcases co-production in action, as a way of working and new way of learning (for students and the university system). Key relationships are already in place within the university. Our established group of experts-by-experience will deliver the co-produced content to a new cohort of trainees in April 2024.

Thanks go to Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, NHS England (East of England) and East of England Citizens’ Senate for their support.

*Assigning an individual to a named category of symptoms of health conditions according to established systems that are used by people working in healthcare

Assessing the Impact of Co-Production in Fostering Equality and Diversity in Mental Health and Wellbeing Research

We are a collective of UCL researchers and clinicians and representatives from and allies of minority and marginalised communities of people with lived, or living experience of mental health and related areas of neurodiversity, to guide the newly founded Centre for Equality Research in Brain Sciences. The Centre is dedicated to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in mental and neurological health research. We will work together with people with lived experience of mental health challenges to develop and evaluate a co-production approach to how and what we should study and promote in the Centre. Towards realising this aim, the proposed project has the following goals.

In collaboration with our partners, we will:

(i) co-produce strategic priorities/themes for the centre, particularly for key grant applications (‘Doing Together’)

(ii) co-evaluate our shared learning from the process of co-production (‘Learning by Doing Together’) and develop a ‘lessons jointly learned’ article written as a dialogue

(iii) co-disseminate, together with Co-production Collective, our reflective guidelines and recommendations based on our co-production and co-evaluation processes (‘Sharing and Beaconing Together’).

The project stands to benefit individuals and communities from minoritised groups and protected, mixed characteristics such as ethnicity and neurodiversity, who have historically been underrepresented in mental health and wellbeing research. Our co-production approach, and particularly its collaborative evaluation, stands to further benefit other researchers, practitioners, funders, policy makers and research users, showcasing how the decision-making process can be diversified and shared

Our events

This is the video of our launch event on 12 September 2023.

00:00 Introduction

04:57 Programme overview
20:38 Questions & answers
26:03 Applying values and principles
30:43 The value of co-production -rapid review
36:21 The principles of co-production
42:35 Evaluation, learning & sharing
58:14 Round-up and what's next

This is the recording of the presentations from our second event, which was held on 17 October2023.

00:00 Programme Overview
02:35 Value of Co-production: how this relates to our criteria
07:16 Previous co-production pilots              

13:33 How and what we’re looking for in applications – the detail!
24:38 Evaluation support, what we’re looking for and case studies
40:57 Evaluating ourselves – a working example!
44:40 Community reporting

Further information

For further information about this programme or if you would like to discuss any aspect of co-production, please contact us at: coproduction@ucl.ac.uk

These are the blogs we have previously shared about this programme.

  • News

  • March 14, 2023

Help us develop a way to measure what success looks like in co-production

Would you like to get involved in a project to help us find a way to help measure what success looks like in co-production?

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  • Get Involved

  • July 27, 2023

'Measuring Success in Co-production: Learning by Doing' - funding available soon!

Get ready for our new funding pot, available soon from the ‘Measuring Success in Co-production: Learning by Doing‘ project!

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  • Get Involved

  • September 7, 2023

Measuring Success in Co-Production: Learning by Doing - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Our frequently asked questions in relation to the Measuring Success in Co-production : Learning by Doing programme application process

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  • Get Involved

  • September 8, 2023

The how, what, and when of applying to our programme & funding opportunity! Measuring Success in Co-production: Learning by Doing

Providing vital information about how to apply for our Measuring Success in Co-Production - Learning by Doing programme

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  • Get Involved

  • September 21, 2023

Measuring Success in Co-production: Learning by Doing Launch Event follow up and what comes next

In this blog we share recordings from the launch event and responses to questions asked. We also provide details about our upcoming ‘Networking, connection and development workshop’ as well as opportunities for additional funding.

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  • Get Involved

  • November 8, 2023

Finding new ways to network and connect online for the Measuring Success programme

An overview of what happened at our Measuring Success in Co-Production Networking and Connections event, links to apply and updates!

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  • News

  • January 29, 2024

Measuring Success in Co-Production: all systems go!

Sharing more details about the eight projects that received funding from the Measuring Success Programme

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