What is Leeds Poverty Truth Commission (LPTC)?

LPTC brings together people who have lived experience of poverty (‘experts by experience’) and people who are in positions of organisational leadership and influence (‘civic and business leaders). All are equal Commissioners. The LPTC aims to ensure people who have experienced poverty first-hand are at the heart of how the city thinks and acts in tackling poverty and inequality.

Is this the first?

No, it’s the second one in Leeds. The first (called a Challenge rather than a Commission) ran from 2014-15 with a different set of Commissioners.

Does it happen anywhere else?

The Scottish Poverty Truth Commission started out in 2009 and is now running a 5th Commission. We admired it from afar and jumped at the chance to do one in Leeds, with lots of help and wisdom from the Scottish PTC.  In turn, Scotland and Leeds, in partnership with Joseph Rowntree Foundation, have been supporting seven other locally owned PTCs and there are currently more in the pipeline.

Who’s involved?

There are about thirty Commissioners, half ‘experts by experience’ and half ‘civic and business leaders’. They are the Poverty Truth Commission.

What do they do?

Engagement: Initially the experts by experience meet for 3 or 4 months to get to know each other, learn about each other’s stories, agree the issues they want to focus on and then decide what stories they want to tell the city. They are then joined by the civic & business Commissioners to whom they tell their stories. Their experience becomes the evidence the Commission works with.

Exploration: working with the questions, ‘What do I see? What do you see? Now what do we see?’ they begin to see the city through each other’s eyes and experience.

Experimentation: from these new perspectives Commissioners are encouraged to improvise on a ‘risk small, fail early, learn quickly’ basis. Rather than coming up with THE PLAN TO SOLVE ALL POVERTY IN Leeds, they ask, ‘what might happen if we just tried doing this a bit differently?’

Embedding: the final stage (that has no end!). How can what has been seen, heard and learnt be embedded in organisations, behaviours and cultures to bring about lasting change?

Who runs it?

It is independent but can only happen with the support of a wide range of organisations and the commitment of Commissioners. It is hosted by Leeds-based, pint-sized charity Together for Peace with funding from the Big Lottery, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and Leeds City Council and lots of in-kind support.

What next?

Although the current Commission comes to an end on 2nd February, Commissioners will continue to be involved in a variety of ways.

How can I get involved?

If you would like to find out how Commissioners might be able to help you do things differently please get in touch via the contact page on this website.