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A reckless gamble doomed to fail

22 Sep 2022 Nick GarbuttEconomy

This past week it seems as if everything stopped, on hold, waiting for the period of mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Social media is an illusion, and a trap

21 Sep 2022 Ryan MillerPolitics, Social Policy, Social Media, Mental Health

Lots of people distrust social media and its effects on political discussions. Several different studies indicate different ways that Twitter, Facebook and the rest shape discourse - and some ways they maybe don’t.

The Protocol: a good moment to do a deal?

16 Sep 2022 Nick GarbuttBrexit

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has dominated news channels to such an extent that two important developments this week did not get all the attention they deserved.

NI’s fiscal powers – the coming storm

14 Sep 2022 Ryan MillerSocial Policy, Health, Sector Issues, Finances, Northern Ireland, Block Grant, Public Spending

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

The Fiscal Council has published its first report into NI’s spending abilities. If you think the current status quo of failing healthcare, over-budget schools and sparse cost-of-living interventions is bad, wait till you see what’s next.

A poisoned chalice

9 Sep 2022 Nick GarbuttPolitics

Heavy hitters Penny Mordant, Iain Duncan Smith and Sajid Javid were all offered the post Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. All turned it down, which is why we now have Chris Heaton-Harris at the helm.

It isn’t easy to leave abuse behind

7 Sep 2022 Ryan MillerJustice, Health, Education, Social Policy, Sector Issues, Domestic Abuse, Coercive Control

People in abusive relationships need the confidence to know that, if they leave, they can do so safely – and with plenty of support.

One out, all out: The return of industrial action

1 Sep 2022 Nick GarbuttSociety

Good journalists go where the action is. There are still a few working who are old enough to remember the days when the most sought-after job in the business was that of industrial correspondent.

Improving the care system: a massive task that’s worth the effort

1 Sep 2022 Ryan MillerHealth, Education, Justice, Children in Care, Children and Young People, Social Policy, Sector Issues

Photo by BBC Creative on Unsplash

There is no single way to maximise the outcomes for children in care. Big improvements are possible, but reform will take time.

Funding: what works, and what does not

26 Aug 2022 Nick Garbuttfunders

Charities, by definition, exist to provide a benefit to society. The more effective they are, the greater the benefit.

Our towns and cities can be whatever we want them to be

24 Aug 2022 Ryan Millerplanning, Social Policy, Health, Mental Health, Economy, Urban Spaces, Sustainability

Commercial Court, just off Hill Street, in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter (photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash)

Northern Ireland’s urban spaces are designed to suit cars. We could tinker with this – or transform it entirely.

How to explain why fixing health goes beyond the health service

18 Aug 2022 Nick GarbuttHealth

 Poverty kills. If we want a health society we need the right building blocks in place, including good quality jobs, housing and education.  

The public wants a Stormont that works

17 Aug 2022 Ryan MillerPolicy, Social Policy, Stormont, Politics, Sector Issues, Elections

Northern Ireland’s fractured politics come with risks. The current system mitigates against dangers, like majority rule, but is failing to deliver basic governance. Other options are available.

Poverty: why local politicians need to get back to work

11 Aug 2022 Nick GarbuttPoverty

Northern Ireland is supposed to have a strategy “to tackle poverty, social exclusion and patterns of deprivation based on objective need.”

Charities want NI to have a government asap

10 Aug 2022 Ryan MillerPolitics, Social Policy, Health, Cost of Living, Sector Issues

Civic society plays a key role in Northern Ireland’s wellbeing. It is worth listening to – and what it says about the Stormont impasse could scarcely be more unified.

The battle to be the next PM

4 Aug 2022 Nick GarbuttPolitics

At Scope we write about public policy rather than politics. Yet the two are co-dependent. And there are times you just cannot address one without the other. 

Food banks are charities that don’t want to exist

4 Aug 2022 Ryan MillerPoverty, Health, Social Policy, Mental Health, Sector Issues

The front page of last week's Newtonards Chronicle

Demand for food banks is soaring but, as the cost of living increases, people are less able to donate. However, helping food banks does not fix any fundamental problems – something the Trussell Trust is determined to make clear.

What happens when facts don't matter

28 Jul 2022 Nick GarbuttUK government

The phrase “alternative facts” first got an airing on 22 January 2017.

The cost of living is creating a poverty sinkhole

27 Jul 2022 Ryan MillerPoverty, Health, Mental Health, Economy, Sector Issues, Social Policy, Welfare Reform

A new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that, while poverty in general has waxed and waned over the past 20 years, the number of people and families living in destitution has increased significantly.

The £14.5 billion nightmare

22 Jul 2022 Nick GarbuttPolitics

In politics, as in so much of life, nothing is quite what it seems.

Youth justice: on the cusp of modernity?

18 Jul 2022 Ryan MillerEducation, Health, Mental Health, Justice, Children and Young People, Social Policy

Photo by niu niu on Unsplash

NI is behind the times when it comes to children and the justice system. Plans for change have been announced – and not before time – but still need to be realised.


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