Minimum Income Guarantee Steering Group: recruiting experts by experience - December 2021 meeting paper
- Part of
- Children and families, Equality and rights
Paper two related to the December meeting of the Minimum Income Guarantee Steering Group.
The experts by experience proposal paper, a meeting paper for the Expert Group meeting of 9 December 2021, is set out at ages 2 to 5 of this paper.
The Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) Steering Group remit sets out a commitment to inclusion of experts by experience in the work of the Expert Group. At the initial meeting of the full MIG Steering Group in August members made it clear that a robust, supportive and effective approach was needed for the inclusion of experts by experience in the work of the group.
A paper was produced for the 17 October meeting of the Expert Group which set out options and, following discussion, members decided to take an approach where a new panel would be established to run alongside the expert group and provide lived experience. To provide more detail around that, a paper was produced for the 9 December meeting of the Expert Group. Members discussed this and accepted the following proposal:
“It is recommended that the MIG Steering Group establish a panel of 10-15 experts by experience. The panel will put forward two representatives for each meeting of the Expert Group and meetings of the MIG Steering Group”.
The Scottish Government will initiate the tender process to recruit the panel, as set out in the proposal paper.
No decisions are required at this stage. However, the Group will wish to note the work to date on developing an approach to recruiting experts by experience to the Expert Group and consider whether the rationale is clear and appropriate and the proposed approach meets those requirements.
Proposal for recruiting a panel of experts by experience
This paper details a proposal for recruiting and including a panel of experts by lived experience of poverty and financial insecurity, to support and direct the work of the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) Steering Group.
The MIG Steering Group was established and held its first meeting on 17 August 2021, having been set up to commence work to deliver a MIG for Scotland. The Group is comprised of a Strategy Group, comprised of MSPs and an Expert Group, comprised of individuals with insight and experience in fields and issues relevant to a MIG.
The Expert Group will be responsible for exploring the scope and ambition of a Minimum Income Guarantee, including considering work to date, addressing how existing powers can be used to deliver a MIG and identifying priorities for action both for the course of this Parliament and beyond.
The remit for the MIG Steering Group specifies that the Expert Group will include at least one member who is an expert by lived experience. Members of the Expert Group are decided upon by the Expert Group Chair and may include people with lived experience relevant to the work of the Group – for example of poverty or financial insecurity. The remit also states that members of the Expert Group who are recruited as individuals on the basis of their lived experience will be appropriately reimbursed for their time and efforts in line with Scottish Government policies.
During the MIG Steering Group meetings of 17 August and 13 October, the group discussed the importance of ensuring that the participation of experts by experience is meaningful and effective and explored potential approaches. These approaches are detailed in Annex A. Following this discussion it was agreed that the Secretariat for the Group would produce a paper detailing a final proposal for recruiting members of the Group who are experts by virtue of their lived experience, and that this would be shared and agreed in advance of the next meeting of the Expert Group on 9 December
Rationale and purpose
As detailed in the National Standards for Community Engagement’s Inclusion guidance, it is important to involve people and groups who are affected by a prospective policy at the earliest opportunity. Their experiences can give a unique perspective on the impact (intended or otherwise) of current or future policies, and can help decision makers understand best to implement change.
There are also strong ethical grounds for adopting the practices of co-production for this policy development. The development and delivery of a MIG has the potential to be a truly transformative undertaking and could have significant effects on many people across Scotland particularly those with lived experience of poverty, insecurity and inequality. Given the broad scope and high-profile nature of this work, drawing upon experts by experience will allow for a better quality of decision making and provide a means of empowering individuals and communities.
It is recommended that the MIG Steering Group establish a panel of 10-15 experts by experience. The panel will put forward two representatives for each meeting of the Expert Group and meetings of the MIG Steering Group. This approach supports representation of diverse experiences of poverty and inequality in Scotland. The Scottish Government will tender for the for the recruitment and support of a panel of experts by lived experience
The recommended approach will ensure that the recruitment of the members of the panel is undertaken appropriately, that barriers to participation are removed and encourage applications from people with a wide variety of backgrounds and characteristics. It will also provide support to members of the panel to access the necessary expertise regarding accessibility and equality.
Although they will meet in distinct manners, members of the panel will be equals to other members of the Expert Group and will be expected to attend meetings, provide input and shape the development of recommendations for a MIG.
In projects that are led by a Steering Group such as this (rather than those where a project already exists and requires expert oversight), there may be issues with Group members having undeniable commercial expertise but being unable to tender for work where they also shape the requirement. The usual way of resolving this is by ensuring separation between organisations who contribute to the final requirement, and those who wish to tender for work. Accordingly, any members of the MIG Expert Group representing an organisation who may wish to conduct the work on commercial terms should withdraw from further discussion, until it is clear they are not in contention for the tender.
The secretariat will draft tender documents by early-January, with aim to have the tender open before the end of January. The chair of the Expert Group and the secretariat will review the applications to determine the successful applicants. We will aim for recruitment to be completed before the end of Q1 2022.
Support to Experts by Experience
Where necessary successful applicants who require hardware to participate in the work of the panel will have this provided by the Scottish Government, with either Chromebooks or Wi-Fi dongles as required.
In accordance with the MIG Steering Group remit, people who have been recruited because of their lived experience will be reimbursed for their time via vouchers of their choice. In line with the approach taken by the Policy and Inequality Commission we propose that we offer a voucher worth £50 for each meeting of the panel and each time a representative from the panel attends a meeting of the Expert Group or MIG Steering Group.
Remit of Experts by Experience panel
Once established, the panel will be supported to produce their own terms of reference.
It is anticipated that once established the panel will meet on a bimonthly basis, in advance of the Expert Group meetings, to review papers and to discuss which members of the panel will attend the next Group meeting.
Two or more members of the panel will attend each meeting of the Expert Group or full MIG Steering Group. The panel members will vote to agree upon which members will attend each meeting, giving consideration to capacity and specific expertise that relates to the agenda of the upcoming meeting.
Secretariat will provide support to the members of the panel prior to and during meetings, ensuring that papers are sent to members at least a week in advance of meetings and that papers and easy read copies are available where required. It may be necessary to draw upon additional resource to provide adequate support to the panel members, Expert Group members may be called upon to provide expertise and capacity if required.
That the group considers and accepts this proposal.
During the 13 October meeting of the Expert Group, members of the Group discussed five approaches for recruiting and supporting experts by experience. The options considered are detailed below.
The first option was to have the Expert Group directly recruit two or more members of the public to sit on the Group as members, drawing upon their expertise by lived experience of poverty and/or financial insecurity.
The second option was to draw upon existing panels used by other Committees and Steering Groups to engage directly with their members and use this as a means by which to get representation on the Expert Group.
The third option was for the Scottish Government to set up – using in-house capacity – a new panel of experts by experience of poverty and financial insecurity expressly for the purpose of supporting this work, and then having the panel nominate two members to take seats on the Expert Group, to represent the views and contributions of the panel. In this scenario the Scottish Government would provide resource to recruit and support the panel and appropriate reimbursement for people’s time and effort.
The fourth option was for a range of organisations represented on the Expert Group to draw upon their expertise and resources of their organisations to use in-kind support to set up a panel of experts by experience, designed as in Paragraph 9, but external to the Scottish Government. This panel would then nominate two members to take seats on the Expert Group to represent the views and contributions of the panel. In this scenario the Scottish Government would reimburse the time and effort of panel members but the time to recruit and support the panel would be provided in-kind by member organisations.
The fifth option involved the Scottish Government considering providing financial resources to tender for an external organisation[s] to recruit, develop and support an experts by experience panel, in relation to poverty and financial insecurity, to sit alongside the Expert Group. One or two members of this group would then be supported to take part in Expert Group meetings and the panel would be an important resource for the group and potentially sub-groups as the work progresses.
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