MacIntyre is a national charity providing support to over 1,700 children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and/or autistic people in England and Wales and employing over 2,000 staff. Our vision is for all people with a learning disability to live a life that makes sense to them.
In 2022 MacIntyre wanted to develop a new co-production strategy and to do this in a way which was true to our values. The people who draw on MacIntyre’s support have a variety of needs, including people who don’t use speech to communicate and/or may have sensory needs. It was important to us that the new strategy would work for everyone.
Previously, using the Working Together for Change model, we had run a number of events including people who draw on support, their families and staff. Whilst the events had been designed to be inclusive, we had feedback that there were too many words and that each event had been very long and tiring.
So, taking this learning, we developed a different approach to consult on our new Co-production strategy – called The Big Plan:
- The preparation was supported by a Co-production Working Group (The Co-Pros) made up of people who draw on support and MacIntyre staff and facilitated by Learning Disability England
- More events in more local areas to reduce travel time
- Each event was shorter
- All documents for the events were prepared in Easy Read
- Small group discussions at each event
- Feedback from the discussion groups was done using images and Easy Read
- Over 250 people attended the events and/or participated in the surveys about what was working or not working to enable us to embed true co-production
- At the local events people voted on their top priorities which led to Local Action Plans being developed
- At the final “Big Plan Day” representatives from the local events fed back to draw together the priorities that had been discussed and voted on.
The key points from all the discussions were collated and grouped into four key themes which now form MacIntyre’s Big Plan and presented in a graphic:
Within each of the themes are examples of activities which will help to achieve each theme. Some of these activities were already happening, but are now seen and more clearly understood to be part of the wider Big Plan.
Sui-Ling Tang, one of the Co Pro Group said: “The Big Plan is important because it’s nice to have lots of people involved from all round MacIntyre and there’s things that need working on. Some people don’t know what co-production means.”
The Big Plan is now helping people across MacIntyre to achieve Outstanding support by guiding the development of local plans responding to the four themes. To help develop skills and understanding across MacIntyre, people and staff are attending co-delivered training and learning together about co-production – working together. We are encouraging and empowering ‘everyone, everywhere’ to get connecting to their local communities and sharing stories to show the impacts of this in weekly news stories. This is making a big difference by opening doors and expanding opportunities for people to build gloriously ordinary lives as real contributors to their local neighbourhoods and making sure that people who draw on our support are leaders in making local events and activities happen. Further co-delivered training has improved the quality of person-centred reviews making these accessible and individualised in many varied and creative ways. When staff see people who draw on our support leading and making a significant difference at both local and national levels it is hard for them not to want to achieve outstanding support that empowers those around them to exceed expectations.