Latest Updates

The hardest word

18 Mar 2022 Nick GarbuttSocial Policy; Justice

There was a minute of silence. Then, one by one, four ministers spoke. It was a profoundly moving occasion.

Children with additional needs struggle to find a place to play

17 Mar 2022 Ryan MillerEducation, Play, Child Development, Health, Mental Health, Physical Activity

All children should be able to use play parks. However, new research shows that many children with additional needs still struggle to find places that allow them to pursue this fundamental part of childhood.

Dentistry: a service in decay

10 Mar 2022 Nick GarbuttHealth

Those who want to see what the future is likely to hold for health services do not have far to look, because it is already happening in dentistry.

The justice system needs more sympathy for victims of child sexual abuse

8 Mar 2022 Ryan MillerJustice, Health, Mental Health, Children and Young People, Child Sexual Abuse, Barnahus

Children's Commissioner Koulla Yiasouma

Children and young people who report abuse are left isolated by a justice system that is not adjusted to their needs. The Children’s Commissioner wants that to change. This could mean huge reform of how criminal trials work.

Education reform: a close look at costs might concentrate minds ...

4 Mar 2022 Nick GarbuttIntegrated Education

Every now and again our politicians display the capacity to render the rest of us speechless.

The accidental greatness of Volodymyr Zelenskyy

28 Feb 2022 Ryan MillerFreedom, leadership, Politics, Corruption

The Ukrainian President speaking to his people, and the world

Decency, bravery and the keenest sense of personal responsibility have turned a successful actor and comedian into a man of legend.

What charities exist for ...

25 Feb 2022 Nick GarbuttSector Issues

One of the more disturbing aspects of government over the past few years has been the tendency at Westminster to regard charities as subjects for hostility, rather than co-operation.

Can children make their parents care about climate change?

22 Feb 2022 Ryan MillerEducation, Parenting, Children and Young People, Social Policy, Environment, Climate Change

Photo by Artem Kniaz on Unsplash

A survey of NI parents found, for the first time, that climate change is an emerging worry. This could change attitudes across all of society – and lead to action.

Putting our money where our mouth is...

21 Feb 2022 Nick GarbuttDemocracy

 Jennifer Wallace, Director, Carnegie UK argues that we all need to be involved in how and why we spend money in Northern Ireland.

Criminalising kids: time to grow up

18 Feb 2022 Nick GarbuttJustice, Human Rights

In Northern Ireland children are not allowed to get a tattoo until they are 18 but can be convicted of crimes whilst at primary school.  

Should we expect our politicians to be smarter?

15 Feb 2022 Ryan MillerGovernment, Governance, Policy, Education

Heads or tails? (Photo by Steve Smith on Unsplash)

Elected representatives are tasked with huge decisions affecting all our lives. Public policy is awash with numbers - but a lot of politicians struggle with basic maths.

Loneliness at the end of life

11 Feb 2022 Nick GarbuttHealth

Loneliness and its impacts on our wellbeing is a relatively new frontier in our understanding of health.

What’s the point of Stormont?

8 Feb 2022 Ryan MillerSector Issues, Social Policy, Politics

It’s election season in NI, which means wondering not just who will top the polls – but also if an Executive can be formed afterwards, and whether there’s any point having a government anyway.

Partygate - what's really at stake

4 Feb 2022 Nick GarbuttPolitics

Many politicians appear to be oblivious as to what is really at stake in the crisis gripping the Prime Minister.

Northern Ireland’s education system lets deaf children fall behind

3 Feb 2022 Ryan MillerEducation, SEN, Mental Health, Social Policy, Disability, Deafness

A newborn baby hearing test (photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash)

Deaf children should perform just as well as their peers. Right now, this isn’t happening. Better support would allow children to thrive.

Why our social security system is not fit for purpose

28 Jan 2022 Nick GarbuttUnemployment

Our economy faces a period of unprecedented change over the next decade as we grapple with the implications of the Covid-19 epidemic, Brexit, decarbonisation and rapid technological transformation.  

Not all inflation is bad. Current inflation is terrible.

26 Jan 2022 Ryan MillerPoverty, Inflation, Social Policy, Health, Mental Health

Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash

Inflation is complicated and its effect on people is dependent on several other factors. UK inflation has risen to 5.4% but it’s the specific price rises behind this figure that are extremely concerning.

Why early education is an investment, not a cost

21 Jan 2022 Nick GarbuttEducation

When the Fair Start report into educational disadvantage was published last year it was widely praised. The then education minister Peter Weir described it as: "One of the most important reports I have overseen in my time".

We all have a part to play in reducing violence against women

18 Jan 2022 Ryan MillerJustice, Relationships, Education, Social Policy

Ashling Murphy

Northern Ireland is the most dangerous place in Europe to be a woman. That has to change. Everyone – including all men – has a role in creating a safer society.

Portugal, Scotland and the case for decriminalising drug use

13 Jan 2022 Ryan MillerHealth, Mental Health, Drugs, Justice

Photo by Colin Davis on Unsplash

Would substance abuse be less of a problem if the police were less involved? This is a complicated question but evidence suggests that Northern Ireland could do better.


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