Co-Design is about designing and delivering community services in a partnership – an equal and reciprocal relationship – between funders, service providers and the people using services (and often their carers, families and others in their community.) Working together in this way is a better way to get things done and to really meet people’s needs. As Co-Design increasingly becomes the preferred model for service design and delivery in community services, potential participants – government agencies, service providers, service users and others – are looking for guidance on how to make it work. This toolkit is a response to that call.
Starting with an agreed set of definitions and principles, the kit includes tools for ensuring CoDesign is the right model in the circumstances, guidance for government and the community sector preparing for Co-Design and advice on the Co-Design process. The Toolkit does not promise to meet the requirements of all possible scenarios where Co-Design is appropriate. Indeed, one of the most valuable discussion papers on the topic ‘Right Here, Right Now’ explicitly states ‘…there can be no exact guidance, toolkits or “how-to” manuals…’
The authors of that paper point out that the examples of successful Co-Design (or ‘co- production’) that they have observed are highly relational and designed to account for many local factors. We expect this to be the case in Western Australia too. Each Co-Design will be different. Each Co-Design process will need to be developed to suit the particular circumstances. However, there is enough common ground across programs and services for this Toolkit to be a valuable guide. This common ground is encapsulated in the Definitions and Principles Tool, developed following consultations on the WACOSS Co-Design Discussion Paper. Also if co-design is to be adopted as policy and practice across government in WA, then it’s important that we have some shared understandings and expectations about how it will happen, what and who is involved.