This report explores if, and how, social purpose organisations in the United Kingdom value lived expertise in social change work. It also looks at what meaningful opportunities, if any, there are for experts by experience to drive and lead social impact work in modern society.
The overarching conclusion is that lived experience continues to have little traction as a core concept in social change work and leadership, despite its proven impact in human history.
There is a glaring shortage of meaningful and equitable opportunities for experts by experience to be involved in the work of the social sector, and there is a pressing need for leadership and organisational development across the wider sector to ensure that social purpose work benefits from all forms of human wisdom, knowledge and expertise. Only then can we begin to remove the pervasive imbalance that currently exists in our social change equilibrium.
It is time to do better and to appreciate the truth at the heart of the social sector – that fundamentally it is people who create social change. It is time to collectively explore, value and celebrate the change-making and leadership capacity that flourishes throughout civic society, including people and communities with lived experience of the social issues we all seek to tackle.
As a starting point, there is an urgent need for universal cross-sector commitment to this broad agenda. I hope that this report will help achieve this and strengthen the case for sustained implementation of changes throughout the social change ecosystem, including the wider social sector.
Here you will be able to:
View the Benefits’ of Lived Experience
to Social Change
Read the short article
in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR)