28 Jan 2020

Co-production with South Gloucestershire's Young People

Co-production with South Gloucestershire's Young People

We’re excited to be co-producing an app with South Gloucestershire care leavers to ensure they have access to information that is helpful and appealing to them.

Co-production is the key to the success of this product and one thing we’ve learnt is that young people should not be underestimated. They are switched on and they know when a product has been built purely from assumptions made about them. It’s concerning that this happens more often than not. Well, not on our watch!

We organised a workshop to embrace an approach that shifts beyond engagement and places young care leavers at the centre of design. The result? Collective ownership.

We were thrilled to see 10-15 care leavers were keen to find out what the fuss was about. Initially not all were so keen to take part but by the end of it we had everybody coming forward with ideas. Input varied from enthusiastically approaching us, to surreptitiously placing their valued ideas in the comments box.

As a designer I am trained to put myself in the place of the user. Understanding the emotional states of those who will be using the app means I can adapt my manner and approach to suit each individual. Gentle encouragement results in young people comfortably presenting their ideas and expressing their needs. The more forthcoming they are with these, the more we can truly discover what it is they want, why they want it and how we can give them exactly that.

We stress to the young people just how much we value their ideas. Watching what started as a sheepish suggestion become a fantastic feature on the app is so rewarding for all involved. Any idea can be great if you think differently, aim high and commit to seeing it realised, which we proudly do.

Co-production is built on the principle that those who are affected by a service are best placed to help design it. Not only does it result in a much more usable and desirable product but in our engagement workshops we get the pleasure of witnessing it help build skills, confidence and aspiration among participants.

The Care Leaver’s App, created by the team here at focusgov has been designed to support Local Authorities meet their duties and to provide care leavers with the support they need when moving in to independent living. We are continuously improving the app that publishes a Local Offer, that’s why leaving care teams can now engage effectively with young people through secure, private messaging. If this is something you or your team might be interested in, we’d love to help you achieve your objectives.

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