Latest Updates

Stormont opts out of collating schools’ records of bullying

8 Dec 2021 Ryan MillerEducation, Mental Health, Bullying, Anti-Bullying

Photo by Danie Franco on Unsplash

Data is crucial to policy, but NI’s government has chosen not to collect and compare information on bullying recorded by schools. This might be for the best.

Stormont has more power than you think

2 Dec 2021 Ryan MillerSocial Policy, Assembly, Executive, Stormont

The NI Fiscal Council released its first reports last week, one of which is a primer on local public finances. It’s useful simply as a guide to how Northern Ireland works. And, if you look closely, you see how important Stormont is.

Schools should look forwards, not back

1 Dec 2021 Ryan MillerEducation, Integrated Education, Shared Education, Segregation, Dealing with the past, Legacy Issues, Social Policy

Lagan College at 40: (l-r) Principal Amanda McNamee, head boy Jude Hinds, head girl Rosa Day, Education Minister Michelle McIlveen, former pupils Richard Sherry and Clare Bailey MLA

These days, Northern Ireland’s schools system is arguably more segregated than the society it serves. This has to change.

It’s not to late to fix childcare in Northern Ireland

24 Nov 2021 Ryan MillerChildcare, Education, Equality, Sector Issues, Economy

Employers for Childcare's Aoife Hamilton with the findings from this year's NI Childcare Survey

The local childcare system fails both parents and providers, with financial pressures approaching breaking point. These failures also hurt the economy. However, there is still time to build something better.

Northern Ireland’s jobs market makes ex-offenders an afterthought

23 Nov 2021 Ryan MillerJustice, Equality, Crime, Rehabilitation, Social Policy

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

Recent justice reforms made rehabilitation a crucial part of reducing crime. New research says that local businesses are cautious about hiring people with convictions – but are open to change, if they get more support.

Blessed are the peacemakers ...

19 Nov 2021 Nick GarbuttFaith, Peace Process

Catholic social teaching holds the key to sustaining the peace process and empowering marginalised communities in Northern Ireland, according to peace-building expert Dr Maria Power.  

Stormont could cut child poverty by a third

17 Nov 2021 Ryan MillerEducation, Health, Mental Health, Poverty, Child Poverty

Children should have food, warmth and good clothes - and this should be uncontroversial (Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash)

A new report about the direction of child poverty in Northern Ireland shows the difference that can be made by a robust social security system.

Climate change: what it means for Northern Ireland

12 Nov 2021 Nick GarbuttEnvironment, Climate Change

The enormity of climate change and its potential repercussions must not blind us to two simple questions. How will the need to combat climate change affect policy in Northern Ireland, and how will the necessary changes impact our day-to-day lives?

Governments should think less about GDP – and focus on wellbeing

10 Nov 2021 Ryan MillerWellbeing, Mental Health, Health, Economy, Poverty, Policy, Sector Issues

If wellbeing is going to work as an alternative to GDP, Stormont needs to commit to it. This looks increasingly possible.

There is no single fix for poverty

3 Nov 2021 Ryan MillerEquality, Inequality, Health, Mental Health, Digital Access, Poverty

Launch of the Scaffolding Project's briefing paper

New research highlights the many things that make poverty persist in East Belfast. Problems are not limited to the expense of food or electricity – a lack of digital access is a problem, even in such an urban area.

The Unlikely History of Integrated Schools in Northern Ireland

3 Nov 2021 Nick GarbuttEducation

This week marks the 190th anniversary of the first attempt to introduce integrated education in Northern Ireland. Colm Cavanagh charts a sorry history.

For those in peril of the rising sea

28 Oct 2021 Nick GarbuttEnvironment, Climate Change

Many of us feel overwhelmed by the climate crisis, helpless at the scale of it, unsure of what we can do, and yet shocked by the complacency of some and terrified by the apocalyptic pronouncements of others.

Why NI’s entire approach to school uniforms should change

28 Oct 2021 Ryan MillerEducation, Equality, Poverty, Anti-Poverty

Photo by Robin Worrall on Unsplash

Northern Ireland has no limit for the prices of its school uniforms. Costs are far beyond what parents consider reasonable, and should be reduced. A complete reform of what children wear should also be considered.

Not making plans for Nigel: why birth rates matter

21 Oct 2021 Nick GarbuttHealth, Economy

At this time of year, every year, the media zooms in on birth statistics.

Can failing children’s services be the spark that ignites NI’s health transformation?

21 Oct 2021 Ryan MillerHealth, Mental Health, Children and Young People, Equality, Health Reform

Photo by Kristine Wook on Unsplash

A new report from the Children’s Commissioner highlights the ongoing collapse of Health and Social Care. Could the implications for children finally push Stormont into reform?

A Manifesto for Health

15 Oct 2021 Nick GarbuttHealth

Parties in Northern Ireland are already in campaigning mode as we build up to the Assembly Elections which will be held next May, possibly earlier if the DUP decides to collapse government before then.

Life expectancy, like poverty, is a growing concern for the UK

13 Oct 2021 Ryan MillerHealth, Inequality, Poverty

Photo by Todd Thompson on Unsplash

A new study shows differences in life expectancy between different parts of the UK can be measured in decades. Within Northern Ireland, these gaps are smaller – but questions remain.

Protecting tomorrow today

8 Oct 2021 Nick GarbuttPolicy

The great paradox of politics is that whilst most of the problems politicians seek to solve are long-term the system works against them - they are trapped in short termism.

“I love every thing about Belfast”

5 Oct 2021 Ryan MillerAsylum, Refugees, Persecution, Human Traffic, Modern Slavery

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

An open letter of thanks from a young asylum seeker was read out to Belfast City Council this week. However, coming changes in the law will make it harder for children fleeing persecution to settle here in NI.

Funders make it easier to get their support

30 Sep 2021 Nick GarbuttFundraising

Funders in Northern Ireland which collectively invest around £100 million a year in good causes have just made it easier for those seeking their support to get it.


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