A perspective from practice on capacity building

by Hament Patel (hament@ocp-ltd.com) www.ocp-ltd.com

This blog post is a response to an article by Gino Netto, Nicolina Kamenou, Sheetal Venugopal and Rabia Asghar called ‘Capacity Building in the minority ethnic voluntary sector: for whom, how and for what purpose?’, published in Policy & Politics in 2012.

I am an adult and community-based education development facilitator, and in the past have been a Capacity Building Officer in London. I would like to offer the following comment on the article from my perspective as a practitioner in the field.

The article provides the reader with a useful discussion about an approach to capacity building in working with minority ethnic led voluntary organisations (MEVOs) in Scotland, and also goes onto explain and draw out some vital arguments and lessons in taking such an approach. The article describes well the policy context Continue reading

From Tools to Toolkits in Policy Instrument Studies

Ishani Mukherjee
Ishani Mukherjee

Ishani Mukherjee, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, discusses her article on the new design orientation in policy formulation research. Written with Michael Howlett and Jun Jie Woo, this article is available now on fast track.

At a time when policymakers are tasked with developing innovative solutions to increasingly complex policy problems, the need for intelligent policy design has never been greater. A rekindling of the policy design discourse has emerged over the last few years, in response to the globalization ‘turn’ of the late 1990s – early 2000s. This approach eclipsed design thinking Continue reading

Inspired by the Issue: Pension Pitfalls and the Politics of Presence

Felicity Matthews
Felicity Matthews

by Fliss Matthews, University of Sheffield

As Associate Editor of Policy & Politics, I value the opportunity to be exposed to a diverse range of cutting edge scholarship and to learn from so many experts in their field.  I look forward to receiving the quarterly email update to confirm that our latest issue has gone to press, and to reading all of the published articles over a coffee or three (academics and coffee go hand-in-hand, right?).

In October’s issue two articles in particular leapt out as having direct relevance for my own research interests regarding public policy and representation, and together the two articles provide a clear empirical justification for the advancement of further research along with an innovative framework through which to proceed.  The first article in question is Liam Foster’s sobering analysis of the impact of austerity on women, specifically the effect on pension Continue reading

A Failure of Multiculturalism? Providing Support for those who Become Infertile Following Cancer Treatment

Karl Atkin
Karl Atkin

Karl Atkin and Sangeeta Chattoo discuss their most recent paper in Policy & Politics, Clinical encounters and culturally competent practice

A recent Guardian Roundtable in association with the British Academy identified the increasingly ethnically diverse nature of British society, while acknowledging the contested nature of multiculturalism. Such debates are now a regular occurrence as the UK struggles to accommodate what Bhiku Parekh called back in 2000 a ‘community of communities’. The prime minster, David Cameron, no supporter of multiculturalism, has criticised the passive tolerance of different cultural values, which he sees as potentially undermining the nation’s collectively agreed sense of British-ness. Nor is this an isolated view and others go as far as to attribute the failure of multiculturalism to minority ethnic Continue reading

Policy & Politics @ Thinking Futures

As part of Thinking Futures, the Annual Festival of Social Sciences at the University of Bristol, Policy & Politics supported a session called ‘nudge and the state’. Professor Alex Marsh from the University of Bristol, and Dr Fiona Spotswood, from the University of the West of England, Bristol, debated the rights and wrongs of using nudge in public policy. Alex has posted a blog on the session, which you can read here.

Nudge has created considerable debate in both academic and policy circles. We are delighted to be able to make one of our articles on the subject free this month. In 2013 Peter John wrote on the subject in our Special Issue that year. Readers of that article might also like to see Will Legget’s piece from 2014.

Where are the Women?

Karen Miller and Duncan McTavish
Karen Miller and Duncan McTavish

Karen Miller and Duncan McTavish from Glasgow Caledonian University discuss their latest article for Policy & Politics, ‘Representative Bureaucracy‘. 

As we approach the UK General Election in May 2015, and in 2018 the centennial anniversary of the suffragettes’ struggle, the absence of women in politics and public life is stark. Political and public institutions which formulate and implement equality policies often lack representation of minorities at the senior echelons of power. Our question of where are the women belies a more fundamental question of how can policies, which are formulated with objectives to achieve equality, be formulated by decision makers Continue reading

Public Service Mutuals: An Effective Partnership or Political Challenge?

Richard Hazenberg and Kelly Hall
Richard Hazenberg and Kelly Hall

Richard Hazenberg and Kelly Hall discuss their recent article in Policy & PoliticsPublic service mutuals: towards a theoretical understanding of the spin-out process.

Over the last few decades, successive UK governments have encouraged the transfer of local authority staff into new employee-owned mutual organisations (also known as ‘spin-outs’). These spin-outs often take the organisational form of social enterprises that continue to deliver public services, but as self-reliant and independent organisations. Policy-makers are hoping that by encouraging public sector workers to be more entrepreneurial, public services can become more innovative, efficient and responsive to the needs of those who use them. The ultimate aim of this policy is to improve services at the same time as making savings to the public purse. Continue reading

Learning to Love Democracy: A Note to William Hague

Matthew Flinders
Matthew Flinders

Originally posted on November 5th on the Oxford University Press blog.

British politics is currently located in the eye of a constitutional storm. The Scottish independence referendum shook the political system and William Hague has been tasked with somehow re-connecting the pieces of a constitutional jigsaw that – if we are honest – have not fitted together for some time. In this note Matthew Flinders encourages the Leader of the House to think the unthinkable and to put ‘the demosback into democracy when thinking about how to breath new life into politics.

Dear William (if I may),

I do hope the Prime Minister gave you at least a few minutes warning before announcing that you would be chairing a committee on the future constitutional settlement of the UK. Could you have ever hoped for a more exciting little project Continue reading

Targets Can Enhance the Impact of Partnership-Working on Social Outcomes

Rhys Andrews
Rhys Andrews

by Rhys Andrews, James Downe, and Valeria Guarneros-Meza, Cardiff University, UK

Targets for public service improvement are frequently derided as heavy-handed, top-down mechanisms that have dysfunctional and potentially disastrous effects on organizational behaviour. Yet, there is growing statistical evidence to suggest that targets can actually prompt public organizations to deliver improved service quality and responsiveness. While much of this research on targets has focused on relatively narrow public service outcomes, such as hospital waiting times or examination results, Continue reading