Time banking is underpinned by the concept of co-production as discussed by Edgar Cahn. Cahn defined co-production as a new way of thinking about society based on respect. Co-production values people as assets, recognises unpaid work and builds social capital through reciprocity. Timebanking lies at the heart of co-production, and is a key mechanism for changing relationships in a way that is integral to co-production.
In the research, there are two broad ways of seeing co-production. On one level, co-production is about recognising unpaid, informal work in our communities. On another level, it is about public sector reform; putting services back in the hands of service users, to empower citizens and break the cycle of dependency.
Despite the emphasis on co-production by Cahn, most of the research evidence does not explicitly link time banking and co-production. However, there is evidence to suggest that time banking can lead to co-production on both levels. Time banks recognise unpaid work, and furthermore, may lead to co-production in public services, though it takes time, and there are barriers.
‘Co-production Scenarios for Mobile Time Banking’ – co-production of social services as a time banking interaction, drawing upon on-going work developing new models for mobile time banking, and new software infrastructures and tools for time banks.