When people participate in or influence your work, you should acknowledge their value, and it's good practice to offer payment where possible. On this page, read about payment policies, and how else you can value people.
If your organisation has a payment policy for lived experience participants, remember to read it so you know what you can offer.
If you don't have a policy, talk to managers or senior staff about developing one. It's essential to have a consistent, organisation-wide approach to remuneration and payment.
If you're offering payment, make sure to check:
- How much is available in your budget
- When you pay participants
- The process that will enable payment to happen
Consider whether people will need to complete an expenses form or submit an invoice. If so, make sure your team has templates to help people do this.
Remember, when you pay people, their benefits or income tax payments may be affected. Remind them to contact the DWP or Citizens Advice to ask for specific personal information about accepting payment.
Everyone's circumstances will be different, so they need to find out precisely what they need to do.
Other ways of valuing participants
Payment is not the only way to demonstrate to people how valuable their input and commitment are. It's easy to assume that people will only want to participate if you can compensate them financially.
However, some people prefer if their experience is unpaid. They might be happy to share their knowledge and experience without any monetary reward.
Besides payment, there are endless ways you could offer incentives or rewards for people's participation. You could offer a reference, training, or further opportunities to work with you or your organisation. Think about what would make them feel valued.
Organising a venue, travel and refreshments
When holding meetings in person, we'd suggest having refreshments for everyone, including hot and cold drinks, biscuits and a good lunch if they're staying all day.
Make sure you choose an accessible, comfortable venue and pre-book travel and accommodation where possible.
Think about what else you could do to help people feel valued and appreciated. For example:
- Giving everyone a goodie bag. This could be an organisationally branded tote bag with a mug, pen and chocolate bar
- Having fresh flowers in the room. This shows people you've taken time to think about the environment
- Having fruit or sweets on the table
- Displaying a feedback box
- Providing a break out space or quiet space
"Trainers are offered a fee. If trainers are in receipt of benefits, we maximise the payment they can receive in accordance with any restrictions. In some cases, trainers set up individual 'learning accounts', which enable them to attend training courses offered by other organisations. Some trainers elect to have their fee paid to other organisations they are involved with."
Sheffield Users Survivor Trainers
Will has participated in a variety of Mind's influencing activities. In this video, he talks about the benefits he experienced, including how taking part helped his self-confidence.
"The whole feeling of feeling valued, feeling like I was worth something, made me confident to apply for jobs to apply for work to start doing similar projects with other organisations."