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How can you centre lived experience in an organisation?

Valuing lived experience is at the heart of everything we do at Your Voice Counts so we are very proud to have helped develop a new guide launched by NPC about how to centre lived experience throughout an organisation.

The guide brings together best practice from across the charity sector and looks at how to take a strategic approach to incorporating the lived experience of people who use services. It includes step-by-step guidance to help leaders think about how to incorporate insight from people’s lived experience, and demonstrates how this can benefit both staff and the people the charity supports.

We have many examples that show how working alongside people with lived experience of services adds value at all levels of our own organisation, and our approach to board diversity and inclusion was profiled as best practice in the guide:

Case Study: Governance at Your Voice Counts

In 1991, Your Voice Counts set up its board which had a majority of the board with a learning disability. As an organisation it has always sought to include experts by experience in leadership roles where they can directly influence and shape decision making. This is currently modelled with a lived experience co-chair and another co-chair who supports and compliments the role and range of expertise between the two people.

YVC says that the investment to appoint experts by experience to directorial positions has been ‘key to the board’s success’. The recruitment process involves different methods such as practical workshops that enable applicants to showcase the skills they can bring and the values they hold.

People with lived experience on the board participate fully in board meetings and discussions. The board have embraced new ways of working to ensure those with learning disabilities can participate meaningfully which has enhanced learning as a board. Refining this approach has been part of the learning and in recent years YVC hired someone to support the Co-Chair (with Lived Experience) showcasing its journey of iterating and improving its involvement practice. The Board is also supported by a member of staff responsible for ensuring that governance is accessible.

Centring Lived Experience: A strategic approach for leaders


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