Image if York Walls and York Minster - text reads: York Poverty Truth Commission

What is a Poverty Truth Commission?

A Poverty Truth Commission begins by putting those with direct experience of poverty first, and asking them to share their knowledge about what’s truly needed to make change. They set the agenda.

It acts as a vital link between those with experience and decision makers in the area, building real relationships and real trust. It also removes labels such as ‘service user’ and ‘professional’, and humanises the system which is currently in place to tackle poverty.

Finally, it’s a power-dynamic equaliser, all people within the PTC should be heard, and everyone’s opinions are valued.


A guiding statement for all Poverty Truth Commissions is:

‘Nothing about us, without us, is for us’

How the Poverty Truth Commission will work…

The York Poverty Truth Commission will move through the phases below. We are currently at Phase 1 and have recently appointed Ali and Gary as Poverty Truth Commission Coordinators. Ali and Gary’s role is to coordinate the newly established Poverty Truth Commission here in York.

If you have any questions about the York Poverty Truth Commission, or you want to get involved, please get in touch with Ali and Gary by emailing:

Phase 1

Approximately 15 Community Commissioners are recruited who have a direct experience of poverty. They meet regularly for a sustained period of time (about 6 to 8 months) to get to know each other. They explore their experiences and decide what they would like to communicate about poverty to their area.

About the same number of Civic and Business Commissioners are recruited to form the other half of the commission.

This phase ends with a public event in which the Community Commissioners share their experiences of poverty.

Phase 2

All the commissioners start meeting regularly for full commission conversations to build relationships with each other and identify issues that they would like to address.

Issue groups are formed to explore the issues the commission wants to address.

One-to-One meetings enable commissioners to encounter and understand each other’s world.

Phase 3

A closing event is held to communicate the findings of the commission with the wider public. This will include the work done in issue groups and the effect that the process has had on commissioners.

Work continues to help commissioners to embed what they have learnt into their communities, organisations and institutions.

In October 2021, we held two initial meetings (online and in person) to begin to understand what might be needed for a York Poverty Truth Commission (PTC). You can read the notes from the meeting here. The notes capture people’s responses to the question ‘what excited and concerned people about a Poverty Truth Commission in York?’

People sitting around tables in a hall having discussions