Latest Updates

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.

Levelling up, what it means and why it won't happen

8 Jul 2022 Nick GarbuttEconomy

As the UK government drifts further into farce and chaos it seems increasingly unlikely that anything will be done about the greatest challenge of our time: levelling up.

The fundamental weaknesses of any UBI pilot scheme

5 Jul 2022 Ryan MillerPoverty, Cost of Living, UBI, Welfare Reform, Benefits, Health, Economy, Mental Health, Social Policy

Devolved governments have the ability to make bold choices - but they have little room for error (photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash)

The Welsh Government has announced a trial of universal basic income. That’s what they’re calling it, anyway. It’s a bold move by a devolved government and Stormont should pay attention. However, some issues remain.

How to help shape future Lottery grants

30 Jun 2022 Nick GarbuttFunding

Paul Sweeney, Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund’s Northern Ireland Committee and UK Board member talks about the organisation’s plans to develop their grant making in the future and how you can get involved.

We urgently need political leadership if we are to reduce or prevent homelessness

30 Jun 2022 Ryan MillerHomelessness, addiction, Health, Mental Health, Social Policy, Sector Issues

Image copyright of the Westcourt Centre

Following deaths of six people who were sleeping on the streets of Belfast over just two weeks, Homeless Connect CEO Nicola McCrudden writes for Scope about how we can best address the complex set of issues that can lead to such tragedies.

Why your health really is your wealth

23 Jun 2022 Nick GarbuttHealth, Poverty

Whenever we discuss how to improve health we invariably neglect the biggest factor of all in making us ill: poverty.

Measuring the impact of Northern Ireland’s charities: a work in progress

22 Jun 2022 Ryan MillerSector Issues, Social Policy, Third Sector

Best practice has moved from counting outputs to measuring outcomes. However, change takes time. The local third sector is moving in the right direction but more needs to be done.

Doctors' Orders: the crisis in our GP service

17 Jun 2022 Nick GarbuttHealth

Anyone who has tried to book an appointment with their GP since the pandemic will be all too aware of how difficult that has become.

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