Revisiting the ‘English Question’ Post the Scottish Independence Referendum

Ayresby Sarah Ayres, Reader in Public Policy and Governance, University of Bristol

Despite growing recognition across the major political parties that the territorial system of government in England is in need of change, there remains no clear and shared imagery on how England should be governed within a devolved UK. Recent changes to the political and economic landscape of the UK, especially those arising from the economic crisis and the Scottish referendum result, have made it more vital than ever before to address the English Question in a cohesive manner. Enhanced devolution in England’s territories is a potential solution to the English Question. I make three central claims about what needs to happen if devolution in England is to Continue reading

Women are worse affected by the crisis and changes to pensions

Liam Foster
Liam Foster

Liam Foster gives us an insights into his latest article in Policy & Politics on the impact of the latest pension reforms on women. Liam is from the University of Sheffield, UK.

The global economic and financial circumstances since the summer of 2007 are without precedent in post-war history. The resultant higher unemployment, lower growth, increasing national debt and financial market volatility have made it harder to deliver on pension promises and demonstrated serious weaknesses in the design of many pension schemes and their long-term sustainability. The crisis has enhanced existing challenges as well as creating new ones. This has accelerated the momentum of change in relation to pensions in a number of EU countries. Recent strategies to deal with pension challenges have differed with some countries extending help to safeguard private schemes while, in others, pension Continue reading

Profound policy change as messy, complex and multi-directional: UK Energy Policy in Transition

Caroline Kuzemko
Caroline Kuzemko

Caroline Kuzemko, from the University of Exeter, discusses her article Measuring and explaining policy paradigm change: the case of UK energy policy written with Florian Kern and Catherine Mitchell, which is published in the latest edition of Policy & Politics.

Across the social sciences a great many scholars are engaged in trying to understand policy and institutional change – not least within political science. One reason for mounting interest in change has been the growing awareness of anthropogenic climate change, of continued growth in global emissions and of what kinds of (varied) implications this might have for societies around the world.  Energy has received a great deal of attention, not least because current (fossil fuel) systems are responsible for high percentages of emissions Continue reading

Policy & Politics October 2014 issue

42_4TOCThe October 2014 issue of Policy & Politics is now available in print and for download. The issue is an eclectic mix of the latest research and analysis covering a range of important policy process and analysis issues.

Rhys Andrews, James Downe and Valeria Guarneros-Meza open the issue with an analysis of the impact of Local Area Agreements on social cohesion. They find that Local Strategic Partnerships with a Local Area Agreement for social cohesion experienced a better rate of improvement in community cohesiveness than those without, and that tougher targets resulted in stronger improvement. Hooking in to wider debates about target and public service performance, they conclude that ‘the evidence we present seems to indicate that performance contracts with tough targets for improving outcomes may be an especially effective way of making agencies responsible for dealing with wicked problems work together’.

John Hudson and Bo-Yung Kim explore policy transfer through interviews with officials in South Korea. Their analysis, drawing on notions of ‘policy tourism’, suggests that ‘lesson drawing’ and ‘policy transfer’ are labels that are perhaps too strong for what happens in practice. Rather, it may be more apposite to instead consider the existence of a less direct and more general process of ‘policy learning’.

Drawing on literature pertaining to policy paradigms, Florian Kern, Caroline Kuzemko and Catherine Mitchell analyse policy change in the energy sector. Their paper offers a critique of institutionalist approaches, and they argue that researchers might benefit from expanding their focus to include insights from the sociotechnical transitions literature to better account for paradigm change.

Karen Johnston Miller and Duncan McTavish focus on representative bureaucracy, and particularly the representation of women. Using a four-fold typology of representative bureaucracy, they put forward a set of institutional strategies for the representation of women in public bureaucracies.

A gendered analysis is also constructed by Liam Foster. His paper suggests the need to put women at the centre of discussions about pension provision, especially in a context of financial and economic crisis.

A thought-provoking contribution on Sign Language Peoples (SLPs) is offered by Sarah Batterbury. This piece uses a perspective that incorporates ‘language justice’ within social justice, and calls for a democratisation of the policy process in order to give better outcomes for this group.

Karl Atkin, Sangeeta Chattoo and Marilyn Crawshaw consider culturally competent care. Their article, informed by literature on cultural competence, ethnic identity, and the social consequences of cancer and infertility, offers a nuanced understanding of the interactions of health care professional and patients, and is highly relevant to practice.

Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall, Richard Smith, Mark Exworthy, Johanna Hanefeld, and Russell Mannion examine the issue of medical tourism. In particular, they focus on three ‘myths’ by exploring primary and secondary data on the subject.

In the coming weeks we will be posting blogs on the above articles from the authors themselves.

Policy & Politics inspiring conference film 2014

The journal Policy & Politics, owned by the University of Bristol, is enjoying an incredibly positive and vibrant period as a leading international journal. Not only did its Impact Factor score jump by 72% this year (to 1.302) but it is also ranked in the top quartile in a number of disciplinary areas. It has a proven track record in spanning academic and practitioner debates and its website and this blog reach a variety of audiences across all parts of the world.

The journal hosts an annual conference which was held in Bristol on 16th-17th September. It was our biggest conference yet with over 200 delegates from 33 countries and with plenaries from four of the best scholars on governance in the world.

Conference videos now available

Overview of conference

Introduction: Sarah Ayres
Plenary: Professor Chris Ansell  – Collaborative Governance: Why, When and How?

​Introduction: Felicity Matthews
Plenary: Professor Erik-Hans Klijn – Public leadership between ‘front’ and ‘back’ stage
Continue reading

Does ‘Localism’ empower the already powerful? And what do we know about how this happens?

Annette Hastings
Annette Hastings

by Annette Hastings, University of Glasgow

“To each that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance, but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.  The Gospel according to Matthew, 13:12.

I don’t tend to quote the Bible (or indeed any religious text) very often. This Biblical reference does however draw attention to the fact that we have been concerned about the so-called ‘Matthew effect’– or the law of accumulated advantage – for some considerable time. The research (and indeed the policy community) have been rather reluctant to devote very much time and effort to understanding how and why those who are already in positions of advantage are better able to extend that advantage, in comparison to deprived social groups,  when it comes to interacting with the local state and in particular public services.

In our free- to- download paper (further evidence that the more you have the more you get!) Peter Matthews from Stirling University and I use an understanding of class interests derived from the work of Pierre Bourdieu to try to understand how it is that public policy processes can empower the already powerful. Continue reading