Hilda, karl, angela and ian sitting outside


Ace support the facilitation of the Suffolk Learning Disability Partnership Board and a key partner in the implementation of the Joint Suffolk Learning Disability Strategy 2015-20.

Ace is committed to working in co-production. Ace continues to be user-led, which means internal decisions are always made together. We also think it’s important to spread the culture of co-production and work very closely with people, their families, social care, support providers and health colleagues to work together to influence genuine culture and organisational change to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities.

The Suffolk Learning Disability Partnership Board

Ace support joint working between all members of the board and ensure co-production is at the centre of everything we do. Through the Partnership Board, Ace support the implementation of the Joint Suffolk Learning Disability Strategy 2015-20. Ace support Strategy Champions, Strategy Workstreams & ensure stakeholders adhere to the Strategy vision and principles.

The Suffolk Learning Disability Partnership is an independent partnership of self-advocates, family carers, health and social care commissioners, police, Healthwatch, voluntary organisations and housing providers.

What is its purpose?

The partnership will work with people to achieve the vision of people with learning disabilities living good ordinary lives as part of their community, with the right support, at the right time, from the right people.

The Partnership Board will:

  • Lead and drive the strategy, using co-production
  • Champion change and be an example to others
  • Be creative and encourage creativity
  • Share good practice
  • Support the completion of the Annual Joint Assessment Framework
  • Host an annual celebration of success and planning for the next year
  • Produce and deliver a strong, clear, engaging communications plan
Karl Butler attends a co-production day

Co-production within Suffolk County Council, Adult & Community Services

The ACS Learning Disabilities and Mental Health team are committed to work in co-production. The Learning Disability Partnership & Partnership Board is a vital mechanism to facilitate meaningful co-production on the implementation of the Joint Learning Disability Strategy 2015-20.

For information on the Partnership, visit the new Partnership website: suffolkordinarylives.co.uk 

Examples of co-production

Facilitation of Appreciative Inquiries

The Partnership worked with Suffolk County Council and external facilitators to host 7 Appreciative Inquiry events across Suffolk. The events looked at:

  • Supported living
  • Day, evening and weekend activities
  • Respite services

The Appreciative Inquiries helped to shape the specifications for new services under these 3 categories.

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a way of looking at organisational change which focuses on identifying and doing more of what is already working, rather than looking for problems and trying to fix them. It makes rapid strategic change possible by focusing on the core strengths of an organisation and then using those strengths to reshape the future.

User-led service visits

Champions were supported to visit 16 services to talk to people about the they like about their service(s), what they don’t like, and what they’d like to change. This, alongside findings from the Appreciative Inquiries helped to build up a real understanding of people’s lives, their needs, ideas, wishes & feelings.

By working in co-production with Champions, people who used services really opened up and shared their experiences.

This work informed the specifications for new services from 2018.

Shaping specifications for new services

Strategy Champions worked alongside commissioners to write the specifications for:

  • Day, evening & weekend activities
  • Supported living services
  • Urgent Respite service
  • Short Term Enablement Service
  • Walk In, Peer & Brief Support Service
  • Planned Supported Breaks
  • Support me in my life


The partnership worked with ACS on the consultation for changes to ACS services from 2018. Consultation materials were produced in accessible formats such as easy-read & videos. The extensive engagement and co-production of the proposals were justified by the quality and depth of the responses. Most respondents were enthusiastic about the proposals and responded to the consultation, seeing the opportunities that the proposals create.

Often response rates are higher when there are strong feelings against new proposals.

Members of the Partnership Board also presented to SCC Scrutiny Committee in April 2018.

Accessible Information

Themes of co-production in the Learning Disability Strategy

Accessible Information

The partnership is committed to providing all strategy information in accessible formats. The Partnership now commissions a local provider to create strategy resources into accessible formats. Easy-read was an agreed default format, but large print, plain text & videos are also frequently used.

Respect for all

The partnership involves a wide group of stakeholders including people with lived experience, family carers, professionals, volunteers, providers and support workers. The partnership/Strategy give respect to all, and values everyone’s time and ideas.

Building on strengths and expertise

Building on the respect for all, each member of the Partnership is valued for what they can bring when co-producing work. Everyone has their area(s) of expertise, and this expertise is respected and utilised to bring the best outcomes for adults with learning disabilities living in Suffolk.

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