Latest Updates

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.

Autism: mysteries and myths and the need for research

17 May 2019 Nick GarbuttHealth

Autism NI warned last week that autism services are at breaking point in Northern Ireland, after the latest prevalence statistics were published by the Department of Health.

Loneliness: an underappreciated problem

17 May 2019 Ryan MillerHealth, Mental Health, Social Policy

A huge number of people in NI frequently feel lonely. It is a problem for people of all ages and in all sorts of situations. The impact on health and wellbeing is enormous.

Teachers in our schools: the extent of the religious divide revealed

10 May 2019 Nick GarbuttEducation, Equality

A major piece of research into the one profession where it is still lawful to discriminate on the grounds of religion has just been published.

A modern approach to modern slavery

10 May 2019 Ryan MillerJustice, Social Policy

Photo by Nahid Hatamiz on Unsplash

The last Stormont mandate was abandoned before it got into stride. However, it still made changes to local policy, reflected in the new Modern Slavery Strategy.

Why social mobility is going backwards

3 May 2019 Nick GarbuttPolicy, Social Policy

Improving social mobility is a central policy objective of all mainstream political parties.  

If you want to improve the benefits system, speak up

2 May 2019 Ryan MillerWelfare Reform, Social Policy, Equality, Health, Mental Health, Economy

Prof. Eileen Evason (centre) along with Barry McVeigh (left) and Kevin Higgins (right), both members of her team that produced the Welfare Reform mitigation report, and the then First and deputy First Ministers

The IFS says Universal Credit will lower the incomes of millions of people and that the welfare reform “hits the persistently poor the hardest on average.” But change is possible.

The boardroom revolution is underway

26 Apr 2019 Nick GarbuttGovernance, Sector Issues

Boards in Northern Ireland are dominated by middle aged and older people. Most of them are middle class men from a managerial background.

The first major effort at citizen’s income has some surprises

24 Apr 2019 Ryan MillerSocial Policy, Social Security, Economy, Employment

Preliminary results are in from Finland’s experiment with a Universal Basic Income. The findings are mixed, interesting, and should arouse everyone’s curiosity.

Childcare in NI: parents and providers are both working too hard

12 Apr 2019 Ryan MillerSocial Policy, Education, Economy

Northern Ireland is the UK’s poor cousin when it comes to childcare. Fixes to the sector’s struggling financial structure need legislation.


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