Latest Updates

Report released into alleged housing charity impropriety

7 Dec 2018 Ryan MillerSector Issues, Housing, Justice

The Charity Commission says Victoria Housing Estates Ltd, under the stewardship of Co Down solicitor Derek Tughan, lost £12m in questionable loans and suffered a £21m underspend on its properties.

Climate Change: Northern Ireland and the rising sea

7 Dec 2018 Nick GarbuttEnvironment

This week saw the start of a series of meetings which will have even more profound consequences for all of us than Brexit.

Time to celebrate bad behaviour

30 Nov 2018 Nick GarbuttSector Issues

What if we stopped rewarding people in civil society for following the rules and celebrated those who break them instead?

Christmas is the busiest time of year for foodbanks

30 Nov 2018 Ryan MillerEquality, Social Policy, Health, Welfare Reform

Manna in Dundonald

Another Christmas, another busy month for foodbanks. For most people, they are an abstract concept – that’s because most people never have to use them.

The future face of democracy? NI's Citizen's Assembly

23 Nov 2018 Nick GarbuttPolitics, Policy, Health

Earlier this week an important experiment in the exercise of democracy took place in Northern Ireland.

The justice system needs to change – like it has many times before

23 Nov 2018 Ryan MillerJustice, Equality, Health, Mental Health, Social Policy

The Magna Carta

Key principles of our justice system could be bent or broken in cases of sexual violence. Perhaps they need to be – and, really, that’s nothing new.

Charities: running out of cash

16 Nov 2018 Nick GarbuttFundraising

Loose change is the lifeblood of charitable giving. So how will charities adapt to a cashless society?

Justice is rare for victims of rape

15 Nov 2018 Ryan MillerJustice, Health, Social Policy, Mental Health

The criminal justice system is failing rape victims in Northern Ireland. The third sector provides good support for anyone affected – but structural reform is necessary. Scope speaks with Victim Support NI.

Northern Ireland government: time to fix the system

9 Nov 2018 Nick GarbuttPolicy, Politics

The crisis in Northern Ireland has spread from frustration at the political impasse to disillusionment and anger at the entire system of government.

Public transport is about access – we need to measure it that way

9 Nov 2018 Ryan MillerEquality, Health, Education, Social Policy, Transport

NI’s official annual transport statistics were refined earlier this year. However, from the public perspective, they do not tell us enough.

How bringing back the wilderness can save the planet

2 Nov 2018 Nick GarbuttEnvironment

There was widespread shock at a World Wildlife Fund report published this week that revealed that mankind had wiped out 60% of all the animals on the planet since 1970.

Improving mental health outcomes will tell us a lot about society

31 Oct 2018 Ryan MillerMental Health, Health, Education, Economy, Social Policy

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

This could prove to be a good week for mental health provision in Northern Ireland. Maybe. Not just because of more money for services - the City Deal could help, too. And it might have to.

Big Lottery's £15 million Digital Fund for charities

26 Oct 2018 Nick GarbuttSector Issues; Funding

The Big Lottery launched a £15 million fund this week to help charities make the most of digital technology, offering grants of up to £500,000.

Smacking children leads to a more violent society

25 Oct 2018 Ryan MillerEducation, Health, Mental Health, Social Policy

In Northern Ireland, parents are still allowed to use corporal punishment as long as it is "reasonable chastisement". New research suggests this leads to more violence among young people than if it was banned outright.

How technology will revolutionise the health service

19 Oct 2018 Nick GarbuttHealth, 4th Industrial Revolution

A fascinating survey published by PwC this week shows that people in Northern Ireland are more receptive to Artificial Intelligence in health care than any other part of the UK.

Education in NI is ready to snap

19 Oct 2018 Ryan MillerEducation, Social Policy, Equality

Schools are saving money by cutting teaching hours - in other words, by providing less education. Urgent change is required.

Twelve myths about immigration

12 Oct 2018 Nick GarbuttSocial Policy

One of the most toxic debates of recent times is that around immigration. It was a central issue in the Brexit referendum.

Social value could regenerate local economies for the benefit of their people

11 Oct 2018 Ryan MillerEconomy, Social Policy, Sector Issues

Protectionism is back. Neoliberal orthodoxy is under question. Perhaps social value, rather than suffocating trade, can layer some new thinking on top of it.

Over-medication is a symptom of our failing children's mental health service

5 Oct 2018 Ryan MillerMental Health, Social Policy, Young People, Education

Children’s Commissioner Koulla Yiasouma

Other services have huge waiting lists but prescribing drugs to treat mental health problems takes very little time. Given the sector's fundamental lack of resources, an over-reliance on medication is unsurprising - but it needs to stop.

Brexit: the facts

5 Oct 2018 Nick GarbuttEU Referendum and Brexit

The Brexit debate has got so heated that it is all but impossible to absorb the facts amid the claims and counter-claims.

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