The National Expert Citizen’s Group (NECG) is the lived experience representative group for the National Lottery Community Fund Fulfilling Lives Programme. The aim of the group is to ensure that people who’ve experienced multiple disadvantage drive system and change and shape future services.
Revolving Doors began supporting the group in 2019. Our first priority was to support the group to develop a strong and clear statement of their system change priorities. The NECG has 24 members that represent the 12 Fulfilling Lives areas, all have lived experience of using Fulfilling Lives services. A core principle of the group is that the members are linked into wider lived experience networks within their localities. Through their roles as members, they can capture the issues that are important to people using services in their area. These wider perspectives, not just an individual take, are feedback to the National NECG and through this process strong themes emerge. We’re confident we’ve gone through a robust process, heard many voices, and are representing a true national picture.
The NECG's priorities
This was our approach for agreeing the NECG’s priorities. We had initial discussions at the August National meeting and then members led discussions in their area throughout the Autumn. Each area was asked what the most important issues were for them. At the following National meeting, in December, the emerging themes were presented and then discussed in detail, clarified and agreed. This is how we created our 5 strategic priorities. It became clear that gender was a massive issue running throughout the discussions and it was agreed that we would establish the NECG Women’s Network as a means to achieve the priority addressing women’s services. This process created more than the priorities and crystallised an approach to finding solutions to these challenges – co-production, an understanding of trauma and making services accessible and inclusive.
Services, and the system, have failed people who are experiencing both mental health issues and using substances. People either ’fall through the gaps’, get passed between services, labelled as ‘complex’ and often don’t get the support they need. This emerged as one of the main priorities. We felt slightly daunted by this, it was the right issue to challenge, but this problem is so entrenched we thought ‘how can we even begin to address this?’ However, the NECG have been amazing. Throughout 2020 the NECG have collaborated with Public Health England and been partners in shaping the Dame Carol Black Review. Dame Carol Black attended the September National NECG meeting. We feel inspired that the group can lead significant system change. Their challenges to concepts such as ‘dual diagnosis’ is part of a strong vision for different services which enable easier engagement, peer support, hope, flexibility and creativity.
If you want to find out more about the NECG, please get in touch with Andy.
The NECG’s approach and priorities were developed between August and December 2019. They aim to capture the most important issues for people using Fulfilling Lives services. NECG members consulted their wider lived experience group to best ensure views are representative.