The current Social Security system is failing too many people, but there is little agreement about how the system could be improved. The Commission on Social Security led by Experts by Experience is a Trust for London initiative which aims to find out how the government could make the welfare benefits system better.
The social welfare system simply isn't working. Levels of poverty are on the rise, and more families are being left with no choice but to turn to foodbanks to feed their families than ever before. But there remains little consensus about how the system could be improved, and what changes would make a real difference to the lives of those most in need.
This initiative is designed to build consensus and aims to produce a White Paper style document which will set out recommendations for how the system could be improved. The project is taking a "commission by inquiry" approach and will be steered by individuals and groups with direct experience of the welfare system.
The White Paper will be solutions focused and will offer specific recommendations for reducing poverty.
Experts by experience
The project is user led. This means that everybody on the panel (the Commissioners) is on, or has been on, benefits. They are experts by experience.
They come from a diverse range of user led organisations speaking up on behalf of people on benefits and Deaf and disabled people.
The Commissioners will be in charge of the work produced by the team which supports the project. These are: Michael Orton (Secretary, University of Warwick), Kate Summers (Research Analyst, London School of Economics), Austin Taylor-Laybourn (Trust for London) and Rosa Morris (Independent Researcher on Disability Benefits).
The Commission will be co-chaired by Ellen Clifford (Inclusion London and Disabled People Against Cuts) and Nick Phillips (London Unemployed Strategies).
Call for solutions
In 2019, the Commission launched a consultation that received over 1000 replies from people and organisations. This vast evidence base is being analysed by the commissioners, who are now working on a White Paper with their recommendations to government, to be launched in 2020.
You can find the official Commission website here.