Jessica Russell has been announced as Southend’s first Co-production Champion, a post developed in collaboration between A Better Start Southend, SAVS and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

The role is jointly-funded by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and A Better Start Southend, and will be employed by SAVS. The co-funding of the post ensures that Jessica’s role will work across all communities to ensure co-production is at the heart of services available in Southend.

A Better Start Southend, SAVS and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council are working jointly on the role, which involves co-leading an approach to co-production that ensures communities and citizens are at the heart of the design, delivery and evaluation of services and activities.

Co-production is actively involving service users and professionals equally in identifying need, solutions and how these are developed.

Jessica will manage a Citizen’s Panel advocating for best practice in co-production, co-design and asset-based working.

Chosen through an innovative recruitment process that saw people from across the Southend community and professionals working together, Jessica joins the role with a strong and varied background in local outreach and project work and will begin her role in early December 2019.

Jeff Banks, Director at A Better Start Southend, says: “The appointment of Jessica Russell as Southend’s first Co-production Champion is an exciting step forwards in our Partnership’s progress. Her role is key in ensuring parents remain involved in the work that we do and that partners and parents are continually collaborating effectively for the benefit of Southend’s children, as well as identifying new, exciting ways families can be reached to ensure A Better Start Southend’s work is as effective as possible”.

Kristina Jackson, CEO of SAVS, says: “SAVS would like to congratulate Jessica Russell on her new role. The creation of this co-production post is a very positive and exciting opportunity for us all to work together more collaboratively for the benefit of the Southend community. The Voluntary Sector in Southend has a wealth of experience and knowledge and is passionate and supportive of local residents. We look forward to enabling the Sector to be part of the future in co-designing and co-production of services in Southend. This new focus on joined-up working will provide the residents of Southend with a stronger voice in shaping where they live”.

Alison Griffin, Chief Executive at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, says: “I am delighted with the appointment of Jessica Russell as the new Co-production Champion, working between Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, A Better Start Southend and Southend Association for Voluntary Services. As part of our 2050 ambition for the borough, we are committed to ensuring that citizens are active and involved with public services routinely designed – and sometimes delivered – with their users to best meet their needs. We are developing new ways of working with citizens and this post will be key to challenging us and the wider public service agencies we partner with, to continue to on this exciting journey. I wish Jessica every success and look forward to hearing progress as the project moves forwards”.

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