In June 2017, we met for the first time, the new Commission - Dundee Fighting For Fairness - 12 people with personal experience of poverty and inequality and 12 people with influence in our city, Community and Civic Commissioners working together as equals.
Our desire was to search out the issues people are struggling with today, to hear their stories and find ways to make a difference.
What made this different from other Commissions or meetings?
June - Nov 2017: There was no agenda, paperwork or action points. We spent this time listening together to the stories and experiences of the Community Commissioners. After each story-sharing we discussed and drew out key themes, finding the common threads. After telling his story, one of the Commissioners said: “I felt really proud of myself. I felt like I’d really achieved something. One of the Civic Commissioners came up to me afterwards, he was quite choked up and that really moved me that someone cared so much. I feel fortunate that someone like that, from a totally different walk of life, is so open, friendly and non-judgemental.”
Nov/Dec 2017: Civic Commissioners shared their thoughts, highlighting where the themes and stories connected with their personal and working lives. Together we chose 3 key themes: Money, Mental Health and Stigma and broke into working groups.
Jan - Sept 2018: We worked in our themed groups:
• gathering more information and evidence
• identifying and exploring solutions with people from local communities and key agencies
• sharing our learning with others and finalising our recommendations.
The key is the collaborative process. This is about the real experts in the room, the Community Commissioners representing local communities, being in a position to influence change through their experiences and ideas. This is about seeing each other, hearing each other and speaking out together.
“The process has been different from what I expected but it’s much more rewarding and as a result, the outcomes have been more powerful. My thinking has changed; I’m looking forward to putting some of those ideas into action in my own organisation and trying to influence others to engage differently as well” – Gordon
“I was really delighted to be asked to be a part of the Commission but didn’t quite know what to expect. It has struck me how passionate and proud people in Dundee are, but sometimes the systems that are put in place and intended to help can have an adverse effect. Working together and really understanding that “one size doesn’t fit all”, can make maybe just small, but positive impact on people’s lives. This is the start of change...” – Fiona
The Commission ended in November 2018, but several Commissioners are working towards an independent group that will hold organisations to account to these recommendations. You can find out more about what they're up to in the "Dundee Fighting For Fairness" page.
There is also a second Commission that will be starting in May of 2019 where there will be new Commissioners and new issues addressed. Research from their working groups will come out in the next year after we've taken time to listen to people's stories.