How organisations can help lived experience experts to succeed

Lydia Trowse and Bec Edser, Emerging Minds, Australia, January 2024

Resource Summary

This resource is part of a case study on the Lived Experience Network: a co-designed group of lived experience system advisors established within the South Australian Government’s Department of Human Services (DHS) Early Intervention Research Directorate (EIRD). The Network aims to ensure the voices of children and families are included in the planning, monitoring and review of the Child and Family Support System.

We recommend exploring how and why the Lived Experience Network was formed before reading this resource.

It’s important to consistently acknowledge the contributions made by lived experience experts. Families with lived experience can be recognised for their input through remuneration, reimbursement, or other appropriate ways.

In this video (1 minute, 39 seconds), you’ll hear how the Lived Experience Network know that the Department of Human Services values their contributions through the investments they have made in resourcing.

How to turn on video subtitles

To turn on subtitles/closed captions for this video, select the ‘CC’ icon in the lower right of the video screen and under ‘CC/Subtitles’, select ‘English’.

Logistical factors to consider

Careful consideration of the necessary logistical arrangements that enable participation will go a long way to ensuring the success of lived experience contributions. This is particularly true when working with families. If considerations such as childcare, transport options, meeting locations and times are not taken into account, unnecessary barriers to participation will be created for families with lived experience.

In the following audio clip (3 minutes, 42 seconds), LEN staff and members discuss how the network managed these logistical considerations.

The importance of reimbursement

Reimbursement is an important part of acknowledging the individual strengths and unique expertise of children and families. Offering payment for the contributions of lived experience experts helps to show respect for their time, knowledge and the impact their participation is having on your organisation. Lived experience contributors may also not be in a financial position to participate without financial remuneration.

In the following video (4 minutes, 44 seconds), LEN staff and members discuss the importance of reimbursing lived experience contributors for their time.

How to turn on video subtitles

To turn on subtitles/closed captions for this video, select the ‘CC’ icon in the lower right of the video screen and under ‘CC/Subtitles’, select ‘English’.

Reflection activity

As you’ve heard, a group like the Lived Experience Network doesn’t just come together organically. It takes a lot of intentional and careful planning, as well as resources and a dedicated coordinator to make lived experience engagement successful. Keeping this in mind, take a moment to consider the following questions:

  • What are some of the essential ingredients for setting up a successful lived experience project?
  • What are some of the ways that the Department of Human Services has shown the Lived Experience Network that they value their input?

For more information on acknowledging the contributions of people with lived experience, visit the ‘Remuneration and reimbursement’ section of our Child and Family Partnerships Toolkit. 

Emerging Minds would like to acknowledge the following Lived Experience Network Alumni, consultants and coordinator who have so generously shared their insights and wisdom for this project:

Shelly, Mirja, Jasmine, Wei, Jamie, Lemy, Chloe, Dana, Mel and Yasmin.

We thank them for investing their time and energy into creating this case study for others to learn from. You can learn more about what the alumni are up to now.

For more examples of ways to incorporate lived experience wisdom into your practice, please check out our other child and family partnership case studies.

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