The Lived Experience Charter provides a practical solution and a toolkit to employers to improve and develop their recruitment practices of people with lived experience of criminal justice and/or the care system. These groups face disproportionate barriers to progression and the Lived Experience Charter is a direct response to improving outcomes.

Introduction to The Lived Experience Charter

The Lived Experience Charter is an award that providers of NHS England Health and Justice services and integrated systems can apply to complete and receive.  Having Lived Experience Charter ‘status’ will demonstrate that organisations have quality standards, best practices, and a commitment to improving the inclusive recruitment and retention practices of people with lived experience. 

The Lived Experience Charter breaks down barriers, challenges unconscious bias, and negative assumptions about the recruitment of people with lived experience and creates systemic change across organisations. 

The Lived Experience Charter focusses on three key themes which support the employment of people with lived experience within the workforce :

  • Policy
  • Organisational culture
  • Positive practices

Charter applicants receive in-depth training and support from a dedicated team at Career Matters and then apply to be awarded either:

  • Working towards
  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold

Career Matters was commissioned in 2020 to design and deliver the Lived Experience Charter.  Career Matters led the co-production and design of the Lived Experience Charter and delivered a highly successful pilot with six pilot sites during 2020/21.  In June 2021, Career Matters was re commissioned to roll out the Lived Experience Charter across 24 sites in England.

The Lived Experience Charter is being rolled out across health and justice organisations, across the adult and children/young people secure and detained estate, Integrated Care Systems, Local Authorities and NHS Trusts. 

Career Matters and NHS England recognise that there are a range of organisations who already support and recruit people with lived experience in their workforce, however, there are many services and organisations that would like to recruit, but require support with the process.  The Lived Experience Charter is a way for organisations to develop, improve and demonstrate their open and inclusive recruitment practices. 

The aim of this practical toolkit for employers is to ‘improve the recruitment and retention of a larger, more diverse, inclusive and representative workforce’.  The Lived Experience Charter is part of the Inclusive Workforce Programme, which is NHS England’s Health & Justice’s response to the NHS people Plan.  The NHS is facing skill shortage requirements across all services and the Lived Experience Charter provides a means of supporting employers to tap into a new talent pool and provide an open and inclusive work culture and environment. 

Meet the Team

The Career Matters team are all professionals in their own right with personal lived experience of the criminal justice system and/or the care system.

The Vision for the Lived Experience Charter

The vision for the Charter is that its principles will become embedded across all health and justice (H&J) commissioned services, NHS and wider organisations as standard practice and will be the catalyst for significant culture change.

The Lived Experience Charter has been designed to allow flexibility and nuanced, varied responses from organisations to capture the range of approaches and practices that may be in place within vastly different sized organisations, providing different services. 

The Charter has been designed so that it can be applied to the recruitment of people with lived experience or other services, settings, or experiences, with some small modifications. 

The Lived Experience Charter Values

The following Lived Experience Charter ‘Value statements’ were designed and co-produced with key stakeholder groups, including PwLE and employers.  Organisations sign up to the values and embed them across their organisation and service at the start and throughout the Charter award process.   

  • We support the open and inclusive recruitment of people with lived experience within our organisation, by our partner organisations and within the community.
  • We raise awareness within our organisation of the benefits of employing people with lived experience, the barriers people often face and how to overcome these.
  • We provide people with lived experience the support they may need from the start of their employment and throughout, including an exit interview and support should they leave.
  • We strive to have clear progression pathways for people with lived experience, including accredited training, from entry level through to leadership and we provide opportunities for personal and professional development. 
  • We take responsibility to ensure a workplace environment and culture that is free from discriminatory practices, unconscious bias or prejudice and we implement organisational improvements to support inclusivity.
  • We commit to share good practice and to ensure co-production of our services with people with lived experience.  

Are you an organisation looking to apply for the Lived Experience Charter?

“It’s more than a project.  We are driven by a collective hope, a passion, a burning sense of how things could be better”

Career Matters

Lived Experience Charter Awards event held on 29 March 2023

Watch the Video of the event, please register on the link below.

Lived Experience Charter Awards – Assessment Panel 2023 – Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all the Assessment Panel Members who took part in the Lived Experience Charter 2023. Please see acknowledgements.

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