Guideposts Service User Council and Co-production Week 2020

06 July 2020

This week, 6-10 July, is Co-production Week! It’s an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of co-production, share good practice and promote the contribution of people who use services and carers in developing better services.

This is the fifth year of Co-production Week and this year, the theme is ‘co-production in a changing world’.

So just what is co-production? Co-production is about working in partnership with people who use your services, their carers and families. Co-production means working together as equals and making best use of resources and strengths and creating services that actually work for the people using them.

Co-production can improve the way health and social care services are designed and delivered by putting an emphasis on a more equal partnership between professionals and people using those services.

Guideposts Service User Council

James is the Chair of our Service User Council so we caught up with him to find out about who he is, his role and what co-production means to him.

James, tell us a little about yourself?

“I’m 48. I live in Hemel Hempstead. I’m a cleaner in Boots, HSBC and TSB and at the moment I’m on furlough. I like making pots on my potter’s wheel. I drive a Peugeot 208 – black. It had only done 6 miles when I first picked it up – now it’s done 19,000! I’m very independent and drive everywhere.

“A few years ago I came across a place in Blackbushe where they take disability people in a plane. You can see it on YouTube.”

James Flying with Aerobility

How did you become Chair of the Service User Council at Guideposts?

“First of all I had some issues that I wanted to talk to Matt (Guideposts’ CEO) about. And just by luck I decided to go to the Christmas Ball and then Matt was on my table and I was talking to him over Christmas dinner about all the issues. And he mentioned to me about coming on the council. It was nice. I felt we were at a business lunch! I impressed Matt when I met him.

James’ Pottery

“Because I belong to other disability organisations and I have found certain CEOs not very good and I did give Matt a bit of a hard time. At the end when everyone went home he said, ‘I was really impressed with you. You were talking like a manager’. I was impressed with Matt.

It is good because all people with disabilities often don’t have a say in a higher level in disability environments.

“Before the virus came along I was planning to hold meetings all over the place and meet up with people and see what they got to say and report it back to everyone.”

When did you start attending Guideposts services?

“About three or four years I would have thought. I go to Mates n Dates. The first time I heard they were good for finding relationships, I thought it was going to be setting people up on dates. It was meeting up with people as friends and we start talking to see how it felt and I didn’t expect that. I made some new friends.”  

Why is co-production important?

“I think it is good because all people with disabilities often don’t have a say in a higher level in disability environments. Disability groups say everyone has a voice and you can talk your mind but I have been to one organisation and they wasn’t very happy and shut me down. If people higher up don’t like what we say then they should take it on board. So that is why I think it is good. It can make it better for everyone.”

If you use Guideposts services and would like to get involved in our Service User Council then get in touch with us at We would love to welcome you on board.

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