Timebanking is underpinned by the concept of co-production. Edgar Cahn , the ‘father’ of timebanking, defined co-production as a way of thinking about society that values people as assets, recognises unpaid work, and builds social capital through reciprocity. Timebanking is a key mechanism for changing relationships in a way that is integral to co-production.
In research, there are two broad ways of seeing co-production. On one level, it’s about recognising unpaid, informal work in our communities. On another level, it’s 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 timebanking and co-production. However, evidence suggests 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.