On 22nd June 2021, Professor Beth Perry (Urban Institute Director) and her colleagues’ Dr Catherine Durose (Director of Research, Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham) and Professor Liz Richardson (Politics, University of Manchester) presented at a seminar hosted by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Alan Penn. The presentation entitled “Co-producing urban governance and public policy” was based on research from ESRC Jam and Justice and Mistra Urban Futures projects. 100 representatives signed up from MHCLG, BEIS, Cabinet Office and DHSC; and officials interested in Cities and Local Growth, Local Government and Communities, Planning, Housing Delivery, Resilience and Emergencies, as well as HR and Managers.

Pandemic response and recovery demands harnessing the resources of local communities in order to address the complex challenges we face. Co-production describes an approach that seeks to value the contribution of different forms of expertise and experience to bring creativity to problem-solving and to create outcomes that may not be possible to achieve otherwise.

In the seminar, Beth, Catherine and Liz drew on extensive expertise in governance and participation to focus on co-production, as a way for those who were traditionally conceived of as experts – politicians, public servants, scientists, doctors – to collaborate with those who were usually on the receiving end of their expertise. The seminar situated co-production in broader debates and practice of participation; developed a critical analysis of the politics of co-production; and engaged reflexively in how to design co-production. An interactive exercise,  discussion and Q&A session followed.