By Charlotte Lamb –
November 22, 2021
[Excerpts from New Philanthropy Capital (NPC)] As we explore building back better after the pandemic, we are thinking a lot about readdressing power imbalances and about diversity, equity, and inclusion. If we are to do this well, centring the voices of those with lived experience in our work is vital.
1. Lived expertise and professional expertise are valued equally and are used alongside impact data and
information about the wider system to inform strategic and operational decisions, at all levels.
2. Genuine co-creation and co-production is facilitated by true power sharing within and between
organisations and supported by effective decision-making and governance processes.
3. There is a good understanding of the purpose and benefits of including those with lived experience in
decision-making, and consequently, there is a desire to do this well across charities and funders.
4. Organisations have a strong understanding of what good involvement practice looks like for their
organisation and are committed to implementing this to a high standard.
5. Boards take an evidence-led approach to decision-making—which includes lived experience, alongside
professional expertise, impact data and information about the external environment.
We know that it can be hard to picture what genuine influence should look like in your organisation and the practicalities of it, and so it’s easy to feel stuck on how to take it forward. Often power imbalances and unclear accountability prevent meaningful user involvement—this is where it’s easy to fall into the practice of involving people in a tokenistic way. What’s more, having an outcome fixed before beginning the involvement process prevents any decision-making power from genuinely being shared. Re-balancing decision-making power requires a deep culture shift.
Good co-production requires relationships and trust building, and this take time.
Good involvement practices are reinforced by better evidence of their efficacy and impact.
[….. ] for the voices of people with lived experience to be truly reflected, they must have a genuine influence on decisions and not just be giving feedback on your choices.