Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2002. Order this book
The Commission on Poverty, Participation and Power was set up by the UK Coalition Against Poverty in 1999 to examine why people who experience poverty do not influence decision-making and policy. The Commission was made up of six people experiencing poverty, and six people in public life, and was served by a secretariat. It published its report, Listen, Hear! The Right to be Heard, in December 2000. The evaluation process ran alongside the commission’s activity throughout, and the evaluation report is a valuable document in its own right.
Chapter 1 attempts to understand the commission’s ‘journey’ and its significance, chapter 2 studies the history and objectives, chapter 3 asks how it was set up, chapter 4 describes how it did its work, chapter 5 examines the role of supporting staff, chapter 6 asks about follow-up, and chapter 7 contains a list of conclusions: mainly recommendations for anyone thinking of running a similar commission. Above all, the evaluators recommend that “there should be clarity of purpose and the process should be fit for the purpose” (p.83).
The commission was a unique project which produced a significant report and deeply affected the lives of those who took part, and the evaluation report will indeed be helpful to anyone running a similar project. If ever the Citizen’s Income Trust is able to run a commission on the feasibility and desirability of a Citizen’s Income then clearly people from all walks of life will need to be involved, and this report will be required reading for the commission’s planners.