Ethical principles underpinning co-production with young people

Researchers: Ann Hagell | Emma Rigby

Project overview


This project will explore the issues of ethical practice in co-design and co-production projects with young people, to inform the work of researchers, practitioners and participation staff.

Issues of negotiation, power balances, vulnerability and safeguarding can be more evident when working with young people under 18 and around the transition to adulthood. It can be unclear how to support and protect the rights of young people involved in different aspects of research and participation, including general engagement, co-production, co-design, patient and public involvement, and co-creation.

As the content and outcome of co-production work cannot, by definition, be specified at the beginning of the project, it also presents particular challenges for existing research ethical frameworks. This project will scope and clarify the ethical issues raised when working in partnership with young people in different contexts as a first step to framing new guidelines and approaches.

The team will undertake an initial scoping review of existing work and related thinking on this issue to identify knowledge gaps and frame necessary questions. They will carry out a comprehensive search across a range of databases, organisational websites, policy documents and outputs from voluntary sector reports. The project will focus on the 10-24 age group across all kinds of research and participation activities, and on issues of ethical processes and guidance, from the year 2000 to the present.

Working with Common Room, the project will involve two workshops with young people who have been involved with co-production and research, in order to understand the issues and frame the principles.

A stakeholder co-creation workshop will bring together young people and a wider group of participants, including academic researchers, voluntary sector researchers, participation leads, policy leads, funders and journal editors. The meeting will be facilitated to help the group to work together to consider implications for practice, agree recommendations to take forward and to identify knowledge gaps.

This project aims to bring more clarity to the issues and contradictions involved in co-production with young people. It will promote safer and more consistent practice for engagement work with young people and will create a road map for further work to develop a formal ethical framework. This supports the team’s larger goal of ensuring younger people can work in partnership with organisations to meaningfully influence policy and practice in the development of services relevant to them.

Team


  • Ann Hagell
    Association for Young People’s Health
  • Emma Rigby
    Association for Young People’s Health

  • Programme Head, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.

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