Diversity Through Inclusion of Lived Experience in Recruitment

Sophie Sinclair, IMPACT’s Head of Operations, reflects on how IMPACT uses lived experience representatives to ensure there is diversity of experience and understanding within our workforce. Sophie is dedicated to ensuring that we implement co-production through all aspects of our work.

A Commitment to Diversity

At the heart of IMPACT’s work is a commitment to diversity, going beyond just good or standard organisational practice. A crucial part of this is recognising the importance of different perspectives and life experiences. It supports a well-rounded approach, aligned with our mission to improve adult social care throughout the UK.

Central to this is IMPACT’s Co-Production Advisory Group. There are 10 members in the advisory group. The members all draw on care and support either directly, indirectly, or are unpaid carers. They are supported by our Lived Experience Engagement Lead, Karen McCormick. They share a common goal: to bring their knowledge and life experiences to make sure IMPACT provides the best possible support and services. This group is a shining example of how diversity and inclusion bring tangible benefits. Their diverse backgrounds enhance the projects they work on, sparking creativity, improving problem-solving, and contributing to a richer culture. As they collaborate to inform best practices, the insights from this group become priceless, aligning with IMPACT’s mission to enhance standards and positively impact those receiving care across the UK.

Co-production for Diverse Recruitment

In our first year of large recruitment, we involved the Co-Production Advisory Group in limited ways, through representation on panels.  

Through engaging with this brilliant and committed group, I not only learned valuable insights about refining inclusive recruitment but also experienced a significant shift in perspective. Our work with the Co-production Advisory Group emphasised the need for flexibility in recruitment processes. This included accommodating various abilities and schedules, as expected in a diverse group spread across the UK.

This process highlighted the power of genuine collaboration to ensure the Co-Production Advisory Group was included in a meaningful way. This meant listening to and valuing a wide range of stakeholder experiences and viewpoints to redesign the recruitment process. The experience was also pivotal in enhancing development, relationships, and self-assurance for those with lived experience.

Further developments

Feedback from those who had been part of the process has been overwhelmingly positive and highlighted how authentically valued they felt. The group also made suggestions for how future rounds of recruitment could work differently, including:

  • involving them from the role design phase,
  • understanding individual needs,
  • and finding alternative ways for representation.

As we plan for our next recruitment round, for 2024-25 project posts, we are considering how we can implement the suggestions from the group to ensure we retain diversity in our teams.

Through IMPACT’s journey, meaningful co-production where everyone’s experiences are not just acknowledged but authentically valued and celebrated is an ongoing work in progress. The Co-Production Advisory Group, embodying this spirit, serves as a beacon of transformative collaboration, driving positive change in adult social care across the UK. As IMPACT continues its pursuit of excellence, the inclusion of diverse voices remains fundamental to its success. Ensuring lived experience voices are included throughout all of our recruitment is a fundamental part of this.