Health and Social Care

Putting People with Lived Experience at the Heart of Building Scotland’s National Care Service

March 16, 2023 by No Comments | Category National Care Service

We have said from the beginning that the National Care Service (NCS) will be designed by people with personal lived experience of accessing or delivering community health and social care support.

People with ‘lived experience’ are experts in what works, and what doesn’t. Their experiences and ideas are essential to ensuring we make the right decisions about how the National Care Service can address the challenges people have highlighted through the Independent Review of Adult Social Care and the NCS consultation.

We are using the expertise people have to make sure Scotland’s National Care Service meets everyone’s needs. We call this process co-design.

In June last year we published the NCS approach to co-design. Then at the end of September we set out the initial plans for co-designing the NCS and how people could get involved. Since then we’ve been busy working to get things set up.

What is our approach to co-design?

There are five key phases to the co-design process:

  • understanding

  • making sense of information and coming up with ideas

  • agreeing

  • drafting of regulations (new laws)

  • review

The first phase, ‘understanding’, helps us build a solid evidence base about how the system works, people’s experiences and views. People with lived experience need to be part of helping us shape that evidence base. Making sure we have gathered the right evidence and that the understanding of what that means is not just based on what officials in the Scottish Government think it means, but what people with lived experience think it means too. So we will be asking people things like ‘what questions haven’t we asked that we should have?’, asking them to check our understanding of what the evidence is telling us.

In the making sense of information and coming up with ideas phase, people work together to create ideas about how to build the future identified in the ‘understanding’ phase. We know that people with lived experience have lots of ideas about what needs to change. We want to work in partnership with them on taking those ideas and working through what is possible.

The ‘agreeing’ phase allows people more opportunities to review the work in the first two phases. This makes sure that the suggested decisions (the results of the understanding and making sense of information and coming up with ideas stages) are the right ones to deliver on the ambitions of the National Care Service.

In the ‘drafting of regulations’ stage required legal teams will use the agreements from the previous stage to draft new laws (regulations) that will support future delivery.

Finally, the ‘review’ stage will include sharing the draft regulations back with people for review and to make sure it aligns with the co-design process. It will also review how the evidence from the co-design process will support the design and development of services.

Because this can be quite a time-consuming process, and some decisions on the NCS will depend on others, we have prioritised five key themes to help us.

These are:

  • information sharing to improve care support
  • keeping care support local
  • realising rights and responsibilities
  • making sure my voice is heard
  • valuing the workforce

What have we done so far?

So far, over 400 individuals with lived experience of community health and social care support have registered for our Lived Experience Experts Panel (LEEP). Over 200 organisations have also signed up to our Stakeholder Register.

At the end of 2022 over 300 people took part in our LEEP and Stakeholder Register welcome sessions. In the sessions we also explored with people their hopes and concerns about the co-design process. Just as we have committed to co-designing the NCS with people with lived experience, key stakeholder organisations and delivery partners are essential to co-design too. These sessions also kickstarted our programme of collaborative design work across the initial five main co-design themes.

Charter of Rights and Responsibilities

Our work on the theme ‘realising rights and responsibilities’ – thinking about what we want the Charter of Rights and Responsibilities to look like – has finished the initial understanding phase and has started making sense of information and coming up with ideas. You can read more about the Charter in our previous blog.

This stage will see us moving into co-designing the Charter contents. This is where we check that the language of the Charter is effective, clear, inclusive and accessible. We will then begin the ‘agreeing phase’. This will provide another opportunity to ensure that what we have collectively created will meet the needs already set out.

What are we planning?

We are beginning our understanding phase for the ‘information sharing to improve care support’ theme. People are giving their views and ideas to help us better understand how information is currently shared and identify what the future phases will need to work on.

From spring onwards, we will be starting to launch co-design activities on ‘keeping care support local’, ‘making sure my voice is heard’ and ‘valuing the workforce’.

Importantly we will continue to make improvements to how we deliver co-design on the basis of feedback and independent evaluation.

As more surveys and sessions take place, we will share further updates on the progress of the co-design programme via our blog and Twitter.

If you would like to get involved with our co-design work, please register for LEEP or our Stakeholder Register. More information can be found on


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