“Our public services remain largely focused on addressing needs once they have emerged. In essence, over the last 10 years due to increased funding in public service we have improved our capacity to ‘pull people out of the river’. This money has improved the lives of many people, but as financial resources are squeezed it becomes vital that we stop people falling in, in the first place. For example, the Government has earmarked £2.3 billion for building 10,000 new prison places. If just a small proportion of this funding was invested in schemes such as the Washington Youth Court the long-term impact in reducing youth crime and building stronger communities would surely represent a better return on public investment.
To encourage co-production and grow the core economy, public service leaders and commissioners should embed networks of exchange such as timebanking within public service institutions, including doctors’ surgeries, hospitals, schools and housing estates. These institutions should become community hubs, rather than simply service delivery vehicles. As our case studies have demonstrated, there are different ways of using the timebanking tool and agencies need to adopt models that best suit their needs.
The core values of timebanking and co-production – recognising people as assets, valuing work differently, promoting reciprocity and building social networks – should become part of mainstream planning across public services.“
In a thoroughly researched policy paper, New Economics Foundation examines the intersection of timebanking in social and human service organizations arguing that weaving the practice into service design and delivery creates a more resilient service infrastructure. Outcomes are studied from the perspective of service practitioner and participant while also lending attention to co-production as a tool for delivering more effective services.
Co-production engages the input and participation of recipients in service design and delivery often employing time credits as an incentive to deepen their participation. They may be called upon to develop programs which enlist their unique knowledge about specific topics or provide basic supportive services to other recipients for things which are not covered in our existing service infrastructure.
Each of these case studies touches upon that central principle of timebanking that everyone is an asset. Every form of participation serves to restoring the social fabric of their local community and alleviate social isolation since people have new ways and means to participate in the economy of their neighborhood.
Their case studies prove out these notions within both public and private sector organizations. Every type of organization will see benefit from building upon the principles of co-production and practice of timebanking within their organization even if this does not lead them to join a larger timebanking effort afterwards.
The partners in this research include a host of social enterprises based out of Europe whose missions are tailored towards the research and advancement of sustainable social economy pilots and projects. Click the link below to read the full report from New Economics Foundation.
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