NACWG Participation Panel


The NACWG is excited to share with you details of the next phase of our work which is rooted in participation and lived experience expertise.

The focus of Phase Two NACWG is on ensuring that our recommendations from Phase One deliver meaningful change for women and girls who need it the most.

Therefore, it’s essential that power is redistributed and the accountability and scrutiny work of Phase Two needs to be wider than NACWG members. A lived experience Participation Panel is being convened who will have an equal role in shaping Phase Two, scrutinising recommendations and informing delivery.

This Participation Panel will consist of a core group of approximately 20 women (however, there are likely to be more women involved through outreach, engagement or community research). The core group will be users of a range of community groups/services across Scotland who are disproportionately affected because of the multiple intersecting inequalities they experience yet are routinely overlooked and excluded from policy development. These women see directly the consequences of policy design and implementation that does not consider them nor meet their needs.

We undertook an open procurement and the social enterprise Sleeping Giants have been awarded the contract to facilitate this Participation Panel and are in the early stages of the recruitment of Panel members. The intention is that women from marginalised communities and with experience of poverty in Scotland will be overrepresented within the Panel to ensure voices from a range of backgrounds who experience intersecting inequalities are heard.

In order to ensure the redistribution of power, Panel members will be recruited based on their lived experience and their frequent exclusion from this type of work. The NACWG have asked facilitators to pay particular attention to this to make sure those who are involved in this work are not those who are already involved in, or influenced by, existing work. All Panel members will receive capacity building to support them to know more about current policies and mentoring to ensure they feel well informed, skilled, confident and supported to participate in this work. This is crucial to enable them to critique current policy and consider how it needs to be improved to make a real difference to their lives.

The Participation Panel will join Phase Two at an interesting juncture. The NACWG have concluded their First Focus of Scrutiny and their Second Focus of Scrutiny will be exploring the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis on women and girls, and on women and girl’s inequality. The cost-of-living crisis is disproportionately affecting women and girls and the Panel members will work with the NACWG to agree the focus and will be scrutinising measures taken by Scottish Government to alleviate women and girls’ inequality with the NACWG.

The methods they will use will be for the Panel to design, however it is anticipated this will involve community research, evidence gathering from lived experience and requests for information from Scottish Government. The Panel will produce reports and blog pieces on their findings and may even report directly to the First Minister.

This is a substantial piece of work that will feed into the scrutiny and accountability remit of Phase Two NACWG. The budget for this project is £330k over three years, with the contract split into annual increments. This budget includes costs for facilitation, capacity building, payment for mentors and, most importantly, payment of participants and their expenses. No participants should be out of pocket for providing their expertise as free labour.

The work is following ethical and fair practices of participation, and taking good practice from previous participation work delivered in Scotland, including Citizens’ Assemblies, lived experience panels and participatory budgeting. The NACWG wanted to ensure the formality of review was built into this work, to ensure that continuous improvement is a core feature and that this continues to be the best use of the budget. The NACWG are also intending for a good practice lived experience model to be produced from this work.

This is an opportunity for not only women’s voices to be heard, but for women from the most marginalised communities, who are often ignored in informing delivery and decision making, to pursue genuine challenge and accountability of government to advance equality for women and girls in Scotland.

This blog is a short insight into the participation work that is due to take place, but the majority of future communications will come directly from the Participation Panel, so you can hear an honest account of their experiences and their challenge to both the Scottish Government and the NACWG.