Archive for the 'public policy' Category

Is it time to refocus planning education?

…ask Kate Henderson and Hugh Ellis in today’s guest blog, enthusiastically calling for a renewed focus on the British utopian tradition of planning as a tool to drive progressive change in society.

Kate Henderson

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the Town and Country Planning Association

Hugh Ellis

Hugh Ellis, Head of Policy, Town and Country Planning Association

There is much that is admirable in planning education but as town planning has rapidly declined in England, many of the country’s planning schools which support it have struggled to recruit UK students.

Some planning schools have amalgamated with other departments and changed focus, even changed names in an attempt to broaden their appeal, but this has also raised questions about how much of the planning project they are actually teaching.

One of the most discouraging pieces of feedback we have heard from visiting planning schools across England is that they no longer teach the ‘British utopian tradition’ in any real depth. A lecture here or there is totally inadequate given that this tradition is the foundation of the ethical purpose of planning. Continue reading ‘Is it time to refocus planning education?’

What does Brexit mean for Social Policy in the UK?

This blog was originally posted on the IPR Blog, University of Bath entitled ‘After the Referendum: Picking up the bits’. With thanks to Professor Graham Room (who was one of our very first Policy Press authors!) for granting us permission to reblog the post below.

In today’s guest blog Professor Graham Room argues that if we are to manage the social changes of the 21st Century successfully and with public consent, a new social contract is needed, one which mobilises the energies and talents of all sections of society and that goes well beyond traditional welfare systems…

What have we learned from this referendum campaign, the passions and fears that it unleashed?

Were the electorate truly energised by the question, to leave or remain, or were they asking quite other questions than that on the ballot paper? Was this a national – and rational – debate about our membership of the European Union – or a mix of quite different hopes and especially fears, using this referendum as a brief opportunity to express themselves?

These questions arise most fundamentally for Labour, as they sense the gap that has opened up, between the internationalism of their London-based elite and their traditional supporters in the Midlands and the North. If Cameron, with his divided party, was forced to look Left for some hope, Labour was itself forced to look to its progressive middle class and younger supporters. Continue reading ‘What does Brexit mean for Social Policy in the UK?’

Dejected, disgruntled and divided: Britain’s EU referendum

As the UK continues to reel in shock at the outcome of the EU referendum, Nathan Manning shares his thoughts on what it has revealed about the state of the country and the implications for democracy…

Nathan Manning

Nathan Manning

Britain’s referendum on EU membership has been an ugly affair. Jo Cox MP was brutally murdered in the street en route to her constituency surgery. Both sides of the campaign routinely reduced public debate to sloganeering and sustained misinformation, half-truths and flat-out lies.

Once again, political elites tended to ignore young people and were patronising when they did address them. It did get people talking, but public debate was a long way from the inclusive and public-spirited conversations we needed to help open up the political possibilities of the decision before us.

The Leave campaign offered no clear indication of what Brexit might practically mean and Remain rarely offered more than the status quo or the abject fear of the alternative. There was precious little space in which citizens could ask new questions, create new meanings or inspire one another.

Elite control

Mark Twain told us that ‘if voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.’ Continue reading ‘Dejected, disgruntled and divided: Britain’s EU referendum’

Free extract: How austerity has been biting the UK since 2010

In light of the media surprise at George Osborne’s 2016 botched Budget and Ian Duncan Smith’s sudden bout of conscience we thought we’d treat you to some tasty extracts from Mary O’Hara’s book Austerity Bites.

 Chronicling the true impact of austerity as it has been felt in the UK since its inception in 2010 and calling the government to account for the pain inflicted on society’s most vulnerable, Austerity Bites reveals that the wounds of austerity have been visible for quite some time…

Mary O'Hara

Mary O’Hara

In February 2015 Tory Party grandees believed it was acceptable to hold a Black and White Ball fundraiser with tables going for £15,000 a time and to have among the items being auctioned bound copies of George Osborne’s Budgets, including the first ‘Emergency Budget’ that ushered in austerity.

While the average British citizen has been living in ever-more precarious circumstances and paying through the nose for bankers’ malfeasance the rich can rest assured that they won’t have to pay their fair share. This is the situation almost five years into Austerity UK.

This Tory and the previous coalition government have presided over manifold cases of people so crushed by the brutish, punitive changes to the welfare system, including the inexplicable ‘Bedroom Tax’, and sanctions that many have gone without food, resorted to begging or taken up ‘survival shoplifting’ after their meagre benefits support has been withdrawn. People are suicidal.

Despair

The government has driven innumerable disabled people to despair with its spectacularly inappropriate and mismanaged ‘back-to-work’ programmes that are still plagued by criticisms of callousness and ineptitude. Continue reading ‘Free extract: How austerity has been biting the UK since 2010’

Policy Press Impact: MPs and peers hear why morality must be included in public policy

One of the founding principles of Policy Press is about publishing books that make a difference and have impact on our wider society, so we were delighted to discover that author Clem Henricson recently visited the House of Lords to present the findings of her latest book Morality and public policy.

A plea for morality to be put into public policy was made by Clem Henricson when she presented her book, Morality and public policy, to the Intergenerational Fairness Forum of peers and M.P.s on Wednesday 9th March.

Evidence was being examined with a view to reducing current unfairness between the generations. Henricson discussed the book’s findings concerning moral divides which she contends are not adequately or fairly dealt with by government.

Changes in attitudes

Making the case for a higher profile for morality to address changes in attitudes between the generations in a more timely and conciliatory manner, Henricson stressed that it should not take so long for legislation to keep up with shifts in approaches to matters such as abortion, homosexuality, cohabitation and assisted dying. Continue reading ‘Policy Press Impact: MPs and peers hear why morality must be included in public policy’

Why we need morality included in our public policy

In today’s guest post author of Morality and public policy, which publishes this month, Clem Henricson demands we put the discussion and inclusion of moral issues back into government decision making and law formation…

ClemWith an increasingly bitter secular religious divide we need a radical shift in our take on morality – not a breast beating on the state of morals, but an enhanced understanding of the nature of morality and a way forward to remedy what is a seriously defective relationship with public policy.

Have you ever questioned why the moral sphere is segregated from core public policy? Why in the gestation of policy is morality hived off as the provenance of private conscience and the clerisy?

We have separate development with the relegation of moral issues to some zone outside the mainstream of governmental concerns. Are governments too cowardly or ill equipped to address these matters?

Legislation and change

It emphatically should not take so long for legislation to keep up with changes in social mores – changes in attitudes to matters such as abortion, homosexuality, cohabitation and that issue that has exercised us so much recently- assisted dying – with its haunting images of campaigners such as Tony Nicklinson and Terry Pratchett.

Why does government hide behind the private member’s bill, judicial rulings, loud protracted campaigns and flouting of the law that are so often the necessary prelude to change? Why is government dilatory and evasive, instead of embracing the essence of human relations – handling fluctuations and tensions head on?

“..an illusory dividing line drawn between […] public policy and conventional ‘morality’”

Continue reading ‘Why we need morality included in our public policy’

Beyond Downton: Can the welfare state embrace a participatory future? #participatorycare #allourwelfare

The union of personal experience and professional knowledge has informed Peter Beresford’s latest book All our welfare which publishes today. In his guest post he reflects on a life lived in parallel with the development of the welfare state and suggests greater involvement of participants in the process of welfare could be the key to an enduring future…

Beresford imageWriting All Our Welfare has really made me realize just how much the welfare state has impacted on my life – personally as well as professionally.

At a time when we are encouraged to think of ‘welfare’ as for ‘other’ people, particularly stigmatized and devalued other people, this goes against the grain of received wisdom.

I realize that I may have had more contact than most people, with state services – including so-called heavy end ones, like ‘benefits’, psychiatric system, environmental health, rent officers and so on. But this increasingly feels like a strength rather than a weakness in exploring social policy.

Lived experience

I wanted my book to include and value lived experience as well as traditional ‘expert’ knowledge. As part of this I included comments from many members of my family in the book. What was interesting was that all of them could speak from direct experience about the welfare state, from age three to 91 and most did so enthusiastically (Charlie (aged 11) and Poppy (aged 9) weren’t too keen on some aspects of school!).
Continue reading ‘Beyond Downton: Can the welfare state embrace a participatory future? #participatorycare #allourwelfare’


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