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June 4, 2014

Commission’s next phase

Five years ago, an unusual and possibly unique event took place in Glasgow’s City Chambers. A group of people who lived in some of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the country, gave their testimony of what it is like to live with the daily grind of poverty. They did so in front of an audience of 400 people which included some of the country’s most influential political and civic leaders. This was the start of Scotland’s first Poverty Truth Commission. Later this month, the Commission will report on progress and set its sights on the next phase of its work.



The Story of Scotland’s Poverty Truth Commission

The beginning (March 2009)

The Poverty Truth Commission was formed in March 2009 after a group of people from disadvantaged communities in Glasgow testified on poverty in front of 400 people. That day, a group of Scotland’s decision makers decided to join with the testifiers, accepting that they could not address poverty without those affected.

Scotland’s first Poverty Truth Commission (2009-2011)

The Commission brought together two groups of people: some of Scotland’s poorest citizens and some of Scotland’s most influential and strategic thinkers.

They came together out of a very special event held in Glasgow City Chambers in 2009 at which people in poverty spoke and others listened. At the end of the day, some ofthose who had listened (and been profoundly moved) agreed to commit themselves to anongoing process of coming together to listen, learn and work together.

This phase of the Commission focused on three main areas of particular relevance to the Commissioners: care for children unable to live with their parents; overcoming violence in our communities; and addressing the stereotyping of people living in poverty.

In April 2011 the Poverty Truth Commission presented its findings.

The Legacy Stage (2011-2012)

Although the Commission planned to conclude at its formal meeting in April 2011, all members of the Commission felt they had created a special participatory model and had a very important message to spread. The Commission has spent 12 months in an important “legacy stage” in which it sought to work with agencies committed to taking the work forward.


As a result of the connections made and interest in the Poverty Truth Commission, the original members of the Commission decided there was work still to be done – albeit with a different focus and direction. The group decided The Poverty Truth Commission would focus on 3 areas of work over a 3 year period:

1.            Supporting up to 15 people living in poverty to have the confidence to speak and up to 12 others to have the confidence to listen

2.            Supporting up to 5 organisations who would like to work in similar ways to the Poverty Truth Commission

3.            Using social media to get people’s stories and voices to a wider audience

This phase of the Commission is now drawing to a close and the findings will be presented at a special event, “Turning Up the Volume on Poverty” on the 21st of June, at Glasgow’s Woodside Hall.

The Future

A new set of Commissioners will take forward to the work of the Poverty Truth Commission. These Commissioners will meet together for the first time on the 21st of June 2014. We are in the final planning stages and will release names of the new Commission on the “Commissioners” webpage in the coming weeks.