Its General Election time and Expert Citizens, Expert Link and Groundswell have come together to deliver an important message for any future government.
We are three organisations that are passionate that the voice of lived experience drives the work we do. All too often, being homeless, struggling with poor health, drugs, alcohol or the many other challenges we face, also means that our voices are not heard in the decisions that affect us. This needs to change.
We want to see a commitment from all political parties that policy decisions are made with the full participation of people affected by those decisions.
People that work for local and national government take decisions that affect our lives every day. Decisions that change our access to health services, our housing, our recovery, and many other things that impact our lives. In many cases when local decisions are made there is a legal duty to consult people who are affected by it. But we don’t always have the opportunity to have our say.
Having personal experience gives real insight into the realities of living with social exclusion. It’s a wasted opportunity when society is not harnessing all the skills, knowledge and creativity that we have. Including this insight in decision making about ways to prevent and solve the challenges we face, will lead to better decisions and better policy.
That’s why we’re asking that any future government commits to recognising our skills, to hearing our voice, so that there is ‘nothing about us, without us’.