The best way to tackle poverty is to work with the people affected by poverty

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Photo credit Paul Downey

Scrutiny councillors in Swansea have been looking at ways that the Council can improve its Tackling Poverty Strategy. Their main conclusion is that, when developing and delivering a strategy it is vital that those people experiencing poverty were not only involved, but involved in a powerful and meaningful way.

The Panel Convener, Councillor Sybil Crouch, said:

Tackling Poverty is key to delivering the health and wellbeing of our citizens and of our city. We heard powerful testimony from people experiencing poverty and I am especially grateful to them for taking time to tell us what they face on a daily basis. I was moved by their testimony and by their courage in the face of complex problems. The Tackling Poverty Strategy lays considerable emphasis on the need to involve people experiencing poverty, without whom “there is no delivery.

Scrutiny councillors were particularly impressed by the Leeds Poverty Truth Commission as a model and have urged the Council to set up something similar in Swansea. This approach brings together people experiencing poverty and those involved in civic life, such as business and public service leaders, to work on jointly agreed challenges.

The councillors believe that this model, adapted to fit Swansea’s circumstances, could not only provide challenge and culture change but could also be a flagship for the strategy – demonstrating the commitment to involve people experiencing poverty.

The importance of involving people experiencing poverty was also underlined in evidence that the councillors heard from the Bevan Foundation and the Public Policy Institute for Wales in one of their sessions.

Tackling Poverty is one of the Council’s top five priorities and the inquiry focussed on how the Council’s Tackling Poverty Strategy can be improved. The scrutiny inquiry report and recommendations will be presented to Cabinet on 16 March, who will then provide a response in the new few months.

Other proposals in the report include:

  • Making stronger links between the Tackling Poverty Strategy and the Council’s economic regeneration work
  • Creating an action plan that covers all of the Council’s departments
  • Working through Swansea Public Services Board to ensure effective collaboration with partner agencies
  • Making strong links with the Wellbeing Plan, currently being developed by Swansea Public Services Board

During the course of the inquiry, which took place in the second half of 2016, councillors heard from council officers, partners, think tanks, front line workers and people experiencing poverty.

The workshops for people experiencing poverty were conducted by Dynamix.

The full report and the evidence pack from the inquiry are available on our publications pages here.

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