What is a Poverty Truth Commission?

Poverty Truth Commissions, seek to discover the answer to the question, ‘what if people who struggled against poverty were involved in making decisions about tackling poverty?’ The commissioners for each Commission comprise two groups of people. Around half of the commissioners are people with a lived experience of the struggle against poverty. The other half are leaders within the city or region. Collectively they work to understand the nature of poverty, what are some of the underlying issues that create poverty and explore creative ways of addressing them.

Phase 1

Organisations and individuals who are interested in establishing a local commission work with the Network to discern whether setting one up is right for the area. A key factor within this discernment process is whether there is sufficient interest and commitment by people with a direct experience of poverty as well as organisations and institutions in the local area for a Poverty Truth Commission.

A start up group is established of interested parties to help set up the commission.

Phase 2

Commissioners are recruited who have a direct experience of poverty. They meet regularly for a sustained period of time (about 6 to 8 months) to get to know each other. They explore their experiences and decide what they would like to communicate about poverty to their area.

Civic and business commissioners are recruited to form the other half of the commission.

Phase 2 ends with a public event in which the first group of commissioners share their experiences of poverty.

Phase 3

All the commissioners start meeting regularly for full commission conversations to build relationships with each other and identify issues that they would like to address.

Issue groups are formed to explore the issues the commission wants to address.

One-to-One meetings enable commissioners to encounter and understand each other’s world.

Phase 4

A closing event is held to communicate the findings of the commission with the wider public. This will include the work done in issue groups and the effect that the process has had on commissioners.

Work continues to help commissioners to embed what they have learnt into their communities, organisations and institutions.