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A modern approach to modern slavery
The last Stormont mandate was abandoned before it got into stride. However, it still made changes to local policy, reflected in the new Modern Slavery Strategy.
Why social mobility is going backwards
Improving social mobility is a central policy objective of all mainstream political parties.
If you want to improve the benefits system, speak up
The IFS says Universal Credit will lower the incomes of millions of people and that the welfare reform “hits the persistently poor the hardest on average.” But change is possible.
The first major effort at citizen’s income has some surprises
Preliminary results are in from Finland’s experiment with a Universal Basic Income. The findings are mixed, interesting, and should arouse everyone’s curiosity.
Childcare in NI: parents and providers are both working too hard
Northern Ireland is the UK’s poor cousin when it comes to childcare. Fixes to the sector’s struggling financial structure need legislation.
Brexit doesn’t mean Brexit
The great political divide of our time – ahead of the traditional left vs right, and even existential concerns about the environment – is about globalisation vs nationalism.
“Your head is the pinball” – but things don’t have to be like this
Everything is breaking. It’s easy to feel despondent but, if you want to fix anything, it’s much better to be calm, think about the good that can and is being done, and have some positivity. Scope tags along to the Imagine Festival.
Back to the drawing board for sustainable transport to school
Efforts are underway to change transport habits in Northern Ireland – but they might not be working. Scope looks at the annual school transport figures.
Employability programmes can transform lives and communities
The European Social Fund has committed £200m to NI for employability schemes – including Start360’s Switch onto Employment. The organisation tells Scope that ESF’s post-Brexit replacement cannot be half hearted.
The Justice Department wants your views on how best to beat internet grooming and child abuse
How justice agencies and the law tackle online child sexual exploitation is evolving. Common availability of the internet is only about 20 years old – while the reach and nature of usage has changed massively in the last decade.
Reform of stroke services could lead the way for health transformation
A new report from the Stroke Association proves services have significant shortcomings. Officials have planned sweeping changes - which they want to show how our entire Health and Social Care system can be reformed.
Childcare provision is good but there are problems with affordability and sustainability
Last month, Employers for Childcare released their ninth annual NI Childcare Cost Survey. The burden on families is enormous - but providers are also under huge strain. Reform (financial assistance and restructuring) is required.
Quality of life is easy to understand but difficult to pin down
Reform is possible in NI, even without a government. Officials last week published a paper seeking to understand what is meant by “quality of life” – with the ultimate aim of improving the lot of adults and children with disabilities.
Popular input makes better policy
People love the NHS and attempts at reform are often met with public resistance. However, its adaptability has been one of its greatest strengths. The response to the hyponatraemia inquiry highlights this.
Welfare Reform mitigations have problems that could be helped by an Executive
An Audit Office report has highlighted huge Welfare Reform underspend. Several NI organisations say bigger problems are coming. With no Assembly, we are rudderless – but Stormont struggled to deal with this first time round.