National Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Development Guidelines

Principles to guide workforce development

The National Development Guidelines promote six core principles that are relevant to employers, policy makers, funding bodies and service planners and commissioners:

  1. Co-production, engaging all stakeholders in equal and respectful partnership for all aspects of workforce development is essential for Lived Experience workforce development to be effective and meaningful.
  2. Maintain the integrity of Lived Experience work ensuring that all work is consistent with the values, and principles of Lived Experience work and develops from its strong foundations in the consumer movement.
  3. Create the conditions for a thriving workforce, developing flexible, recovery-oriented workplaces where Lived Experience workers are enabled to achieve in their professional roles with flow-on benefits for the whole workforce and for service users and their families.
  4. Respond to diversity, engaging with diverse communities to ensure that all aspects of service delivery meet their needs and engaging a Lived Experience workforce that reflects the diversity of service users and their families and supporters.
  5. Reduce coercive and restrictive practice, ensuring that Lived Experience workers are not placed in positions where they are expected to support coercive or restrictive practices, and working to co-produce more effective alternatives to restrictive practices.
  6. Support systemic change and professionalisation of the Lived Experience workforce, identifying areas for prioritisation in funding, policy, planning and service commissioning.

Depending on the current status of an organisation or region’s Lived Experience workforce, many steps may be required to fully embed a sufficient workforce to support change. The National Development Guidelines identify four simple stages of development that can be implemented by any organisation or service provider, regardless of resources or current stage in development.

  1. Clarify – develop understanding of Lived Experience work and recovery. Assess current practices for alignment with this understanding. Create opportunities to connect with consumers, carers and families, and lived experience services in your area.
  2. Commit – put Lived Experience workforce development and recovery-oriented practice on the agenda as core business. Include it in all planned activities and budgets.
  3. Co-develop – work with people with lived experience and their families and supporters to review existing practices and develop new approaches.
  4. Continuously Learn – collect data, service user and staff feedback. Regularly co-evaluate and apply new knowledge to the next steps in development.

clarify commit co develop learn

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past present and emerging, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.