Latest Updates

Boris: obesity and the nanny state

26 Jul 2019 Nick GarbuttHealth

Boris Johnson’s elevation to Prime Minister will have profound – and potentially negative – impacts on public health policy.

Unpicking the thinking behind votes

24 Jul 2019 Ryan MillerPolitics, Social Policy

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson

A new PM will – ultimately – mean elections. Low-income voters are energised, having re-engaged in UK politics. This is an opportunity for politicians who support their interests. It could be the downfall of those who don’t.

The neglected miracle cure: walking

19 Jul 2019 Nick GarbuttHealth, Environment

There is one thing almost everyone can do, every day and at no cost, that would simultaneously improve their health, fitness, mental wellbeing and reduce pollution. Walking.

Skills shortages: the meaning and consequences of barriers to growth

17 Jul 2019 Ryan MillerSector Issues, Social Policy, Brexit

Photo by sol on Unsplash

The third sector employs more than 50,000 people in Northern Ireland. However, organisations say they struggle to find suitable candidates for new jobs. Brexit won’t help.

What happened at the Battle of the Boyne

11 Jul 2019 Nick Garbuttculture, history

James and his forces were doomed. The Boyne was the only defensible barrier between the Williamite army and Dublin but the ground he had chosen to fight on was not.

NI charities and digital – a doubly slow change of approach

10 Jul 2019 Ryan MillerSector Issues, Fundraising

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The third sector in NI is lagging behind other areas in its approach to digital. However, even in the rest of the UK the pace of change is sluggish.

How's life?

3 Jul 2019 Nick GarbuttPolicy

Governments traditionally measured performance by looking at Gross Domestic Product – the value of goods and services. These days the emphasis has shifted to measuring wellbeing – how people feel about their lives.

Westminster turns to people power to help tackle climate change

3 Jul 2019 Ryan MillerClimate Change, Environment, Democracy, Politics, Policy

Photo by Deniz Fuchidzhiev on Unsplash

The UK’s planned new Citizen’s Assembly – specifically set up to look at climate change – could be good news for democracy and the planet, and also provide a positive legacy for an otherwise dire term of parliament.

Employers for Childcare publishes annual childcare report

27 Jun 2019 Ryan MillerEquality, Education, Economy, Sector Issues, Social Policy

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The need to restructure childcare in Northern Ireland has long been ignored. But the campaign for change is building momentum.

Re-defining rubbish - the Circular Economy

27 Jun 2019 Nick GarbuttEnvironment, Economy

It’s good that so many people are becoming more conscious about single use plastics. It’s even better that the environment has catapulted up the political agenda.

A Million & Me: Children in Need's great new initiative

20 Jun 2019 Nick GarbuttFunding, Mental Health

Around one in four of us will experience poor mental health during the course of our lives. In more than half of these cases problems start before the age of 14.

What can’t we afford? How economic inequality is about more than paying bills

19 Jun 2019 Ryan MillerEquality, Health, Education, Mental Health, Economy, Social Policy

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

If wealth, rather than ability, drives educational achievement, we have to think hard about how we structure society to compensate for this.

The Wisdom of the Ages: working longer lives

14 Jun 2019 Nick GarbuttPolicy

It’s great that people are living longer, the flip side is that we have to work for longer too.

Northern Ireland in no position to take a one-two-three punch

13 Jun 2019 Ryan MillerHealth, Welfare Reform, Sector Issues, Brexit, Social Policy, Mental Health

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

Brexit, Welfare Reform and the health service – each is at a major moment for NI policy. But these are not independent issues. Any failures will compound. This could be disastrous.

Crime and mental illness

7 Jun 2019 Nick GarbuttJustice, Health

The announcement that all police custody suites are to get full-time nurses is an important and welcome development.

Volunteering is good for you

6 Jun 2019 Ryan MillerSector Issues, Volunteering, Mental Health, Health, Social Policy, Fundraising

Reuben volunteers in Age NI's shop in Coleraine

It’s Volunteers’ Week. Scope takes a look at how people sacrifice their time for a good cause, why this is important – and also rewarding.

Community economies: the quiet revolution

31 May 2019 Nick GarbuttEconomy, Social Policy

One of the more troubling trends in recent times is that whilst the economy is growing most of us are getting poorer.

Trading places: cash, online money and charitable donations

30 May 2019 Ryan MillerSector Issues, Fundraising

NICVA’s latest Individual Giving Survey was published this week. As society moves away from cash, so do donors – sort of.

The trouble with sectarianism

24 May 2019 Nick GarbuttPolicy

Last week saw the publication of an important report on sectarianism in Northern Ireland 

Global goals lack local focus

23 May 2019 Ryan MillerSector Issues, Social Policy, Equality, Health, Education, Environment, Justice, Mental Health

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are nearly four years old. High-level strategies for the world (or 193 UN member nations) to build a “better and more sustainable future”. Too few people know what they are.


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