Charity Impact Podcast: Ed Archer on co-production; shifting power; and diversity and inclusion issues in the charity sector. (#6)
THE CHARITY IMPACT PODCAST: EPISODE 6
Ed Archer on co-production; shifting power; and diversity and inclusion issues in the charity sector. (#6)
“It is better to do great work that nobody knows about, authentically, that makes a real difference to the community you are working with, than to say all the right things but to let down that person that comes through your door.”
Ed Archer, Head of Service Design and Delivery at Toynbee Hall
Those job titles are all a bit of a mouthful but basically what Ed does and knows really well is helping charities to listen to and work alongside the people they serve, finding ways to build fairness and transfer of power into ways of working across service delivery, campaigning, recruitment and more. Its about designing systems and structures that serve communities in the way they want and need.
In this episode, our main focus is on co-production and shifting power to people with lived expertise / lived experience. We also discuss diversity and inclusion issues in the sector, particularly through the lens of class; and Ed shares some great examples and practical advice on inclusive recruitment practice (this is around 28 minutes in).
As I mentioned in the podcast launch, my plan is to produce a series of say six to 10 episodes and then review whether to continue or not.
If you enjoy the podcast and haven’t done so yet, please do leave a rating/review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or the podcast platform you use; or if you’d prefer to share constructive feedback by e-mail, please do. I would really appreciate any feedback so I can get a sense of whether the podcast is adding value for you or what I could do to improve it.
NOTES AND LINKS FOR EPISODE 6
EPISODE 6: Ed Archer
Childhood – family link fostering – disabled children stayed with us at the weekend, saw how they were treated by other children and adults
Strong sense of justice – motivated to work with disabled children and where the cool work was happening was in the charity sector
How social policy can change public attitudes – the impact of the assumption of inclusion for children with disabilities
The best campaigners often have personal experience and connections to the cause
Autistica – example of people with autism working in a charity serving people with autism
Growing up in loud vs quiet households (i.e. 10 children vs only child) and how that plays out in the workplace
Shifting power to people with lived expertise / lived experience
Working out ways to support people to have their say heard and valued (not being extractive)
Co-production can be brilliant but can be used as a word by professionals who then don’t genuinely share power and engage the people they serve
How do we set the playing field really honestly
Knowing when its not your place to speak (platforming)
Inclusive recruitment practice (some really practical advice on this around 30 minutes in)
Examples from Toynbee Hall – the work we do is better when the work is done by people with deep knowledge because they have been through these issues themselves
Make your personal specification about the job, not your ideal candidate, not what you were like when you did the role – just what skills are really needed and why (if we can’t explain why, it has to be taken out)
Transparency e.g. describing in the job pack how applicants will be scored
We pay people £150 to attend interviews so we can attract people who can’t afford childcare or to turn down a shift at work
Interview panel reflects our respect for local knowledge e.g. we interview with a panel of local panel who are paid to be there and review applicants from their perspective e.g. do I feel able to talk to them about my issues, did they say anything that made me feel comfortable etc. There is also a panel who judge technical skills e.g. how well you can use a database, write a report etc. The two panels are weighted equally so the local panel is not tokenistic.
More and more local people are part of our team as a result.
Co-production in service design and how to secure funding for this type of approach
It has to be a level playing field and it has to have clear boundaries and expectations
Participatory action research (PAR Research)
Need to be really intentional about every aspect of what we do
Asking people how they want to engage – not just another panel which replicates power structures used elsewhere that have disadvantaged them – e.g. community dinners with informal conversations and ‘talking tablecloths’
Voting on which projects would be selected happened on a market stall on Petticoat Lane – intentionally not on social media so it can’t be skewed by people with more followers online which could mean people outside the area getting a say
What made it work is intention at every step – when we thought we might be taking a decision, asking if it is our decision to make and challenging ourselves if it wasn’t
Changes in the balance of power between funders / commissioners and charities / communities – we are challenging them more now and they are more open to hearing what we think
Danger of working towards consensus is that no one gets what they want
Feeling the love for Toynbee Hall and its history e.g. the Matchstick girls strike – understanding opposing positions can be really useful
The importance of offering ways to engage that work for the people you serve, not just that work for you/your organisation e.g. e-mail, call, voice note, writing zines
People can tell whether you’re being tokenistic or not
Change the problem in your organisation, not the optics of the problem
“It is better to do great work that nobody knows about, authentically, that makes a real difference to the community you are working with, than to say all the right things but to let down that person that comes through your door”
Getting it right is a life long process that never ends.
This podcast is brought to you by KEDA Consulting, where we help charities to develop strategy, secure funding and make decisions to navigate the various challenges and opportunities we face in the sector.
Click on the episode title below to find the play buttons and all associated notes and links to resources:
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.