In August 2021, we established a Panel of Experts by Experience to shape and support our work in developing and providing advice, scrutiny and advocacy on poverty and inequality in Scotland. When we say ‘experts by experience’ we mean people who have lived experience of poverty and inequality.
Our approach to embedding the participation of experts by experience in the work of the Commission is underpinned by guidance that was developed for the Commission by members of the Poverty Alliance’s Community Activists’ Advisory Group.
Who are the Panel members and how were they recruited?
The Panel is made up of 17 experts by experience who are:
- from across Scotland, based in cities, towns and rural areas
- diverse in terms of their identity and experiences of poverty and inequality
- from groups most likely to experience poverty in Scotland
To recruit our Panel members, we worked in partnership with local groups, organisations and practitioners across Scotland. With support from Disability Equality Scotland, we developed accessible recruitment materials including leaflets, a video, presentation materials, social media content, and application forms.
Partner groups and organisations supported us to identify experts by experience who would be interested in joining the Panel and also provided support for people who wanted to apply to join the Panel. We invited people who were interested to apply online, by post or on the phone.
How does the Panel work?
Over the course of their first few meetings, Panel members worked together to develop Terms of Reference and a Group Agreement. These guide how the Commission works with the Panel and how Panel members work together.
The Panel meets online monthly and works together to identify issues, and to develop advice and scrutiny around poverty and inequality. Panel members sometimes meet more frequently to discuss urgent or complex issues. The Commission sends out background information and resources the week before Panel meetings and also use surveys to gather the views of Panel members in between meetings where necessary.
Panel members also sometimes meet with Commissioners and with ministers and staff from Scottish Government to share their views directly.
Why work with experts by experience?
The Commission’s principles commit us to amplifying the voices of those in poverty who are often not heard. We know that people with lived experience are experts because of their experience and bring knowledge and ideas that are needed to successfully tackle poverty. Scotland needs their expertise at the centre of work to reduce poverty.
‘Amplify the voices of experts by experience to make sure they are part of identifying issues, developing and designing solutions, and scrutinising progress.’
This is the overarching principle in our Strategic Plan 2020 – 23. This principle does not stand alone but threads through our work on all our other priorities.
We asked our Panel members why people with lived experience of poverty should be involved in decisions and actions to tackle poverty in Scotland. You can watch this short video (2 mins) to see what they said.
For more information
If you have any questions, or would like any further information about the Panel, you can email our Senior Participation Officer, Órlaith McAree, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Joseph Rowntree Foundation which funds the Commission’s current work with the Panel.