UNIVERSITY PUBLIC POLICY BLOGS – WHY & HOW?

Cambridge Policy Lab

University-based public policy blog sites are growing in number in the UK. Why?

Partly, this is obviously driven by the so-called “impact” agenda – Universities proving the worth of their research to funding agencies, Government, the media and the public. Impact on public policy is an important part of “impact”.

So why blog sites? A University public policy blogsite offers two huge advantages.

Internally, within a University, it provides a way of quickly sharing policy-related research and developments in an easily digestible format. It is especially useful in developing early-career researchers who can share their work quickly and get feedback from more experienced colleagues outside of the normal, formal, University and academic channels.

Externally, it provides a platform to share – again quickly and accessibly – University public policy research with the wider world and provide ‘sign-posting’ to more in-depth engagement for practitioners and policymakers.

Blogs are essentially a publishing…

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Blogging as academic public policy engagement – a personal journey (Part 1 – 2009-2013)

Cambridge Policy Lab

Almost a decade ago, in 2009, I decided to experiment with blogging as a way of engaging with public policy and management debates.

It wasn’t easy.

I was an academic employed by Manchester Business School, University of Manchester.

I said I wanted to start a blog. They said – no you can’t. I asked why? They said, first we don’t know how to and second we don’t want you freelancing and possibly “damaging the brand”.

Let’s back-track a bit to see how I got to this point.

I am not a conventional academic. I left school at 16 with only 5 “O” Levels and went to work as a Lab Tech with what was then ICI Pharmaceuticals research in Alderley Edge.

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Universal Credit: chronicle of a death foretold

This blog post was first published on Nov 11, 2010, in reaction to the Universal Credit ‘White Paper’. It’s normal to say “I hate to say it ….”. I don’t hate to say it – I was right.

Welfare Reform: it’s the implementation, stupid

It has entered popular mythology that in the 1992 US Presidential election Bill Clinton’s adviser James Carville hung a notice over Clinton’s desk that said “it’s the economy, stupid”. (It didn’t quite happen like that, but it’s close enough.) Continue reading

The Soft Brexit Solution Struggling to get out?

There is a majority in Parliament – in both Houses – for some form the ‘soft’ Brexit. The question is, can it get out?

Let’s be clear – the Brexiteers are right about one thing: the majority of MPs stood on manifestos committing us to leaving the EU. But they did not commit themselves to any old Brexit Theresa May and David Davis decide we’ll get. Labour’s manifesto was ambiguous and many individual candidates entered their own local caveats.

The majority in the House of Commons would probably now vote for something like this:

We formally leave the EU in April 2019.

We agree an “interim” deal to remain in the EEA or EFTA (or both) and the customs union pending further negotiations.

Such a deal could satisfy soft Leavers and Remainers. For now. Continue reading

Grenfell: How to investigate what happened

[Republished with permission from politics.co.uk]

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Andrew Blackie was an Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) operations inspector from 2007 to 2017. Here he outlines various options for how to investigate what took place at Grenfell.

By Andrew Blackie

There has been a lot of discussion about how the investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire should proceed in the wake of the tragedy. Every day that debate becomes more politicised. In order to come to a sound judgement on it, it’s worth taking a look at the various models on offer, so that we can assess them for speed, purpose and independence.

Disaster investigations in the UK depend on what sort of incident it was. Some are done with the intention of prosecution or determining liability, others are purely for learning and others are a hybrid. Continue reading

Passport to Remain – how would the UK process residency rights for 3 million EU27 nationals?

[see important Update at bottom]

Settling the position of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU is at the top of the agenda for the Brexit talks that have just started. Good.

Let’s assume, as everyone seems to be saying, that a generous settlement is reached which allows all of them to stay where they are now if they want to.

If that does happen then the UK would need to come up with a process to grant them the right to remain and documents – preferably simple – that would show they had such a right.

It needs to do it quickly – assuming this part of the negotiations is settled by say October that will give the UK about 18 months to process this. Remember, as soon as we withdraw from the EU in April 2019 three million EU27 residents of the UK would legally have no right to be here.

So how could it be done? Continue reading

Grenfell Tower

Municipal Dreams

For almost four decades, we have been taught to see public spending as a bad thing; ruthless economising as a virtue.  We have come to know the price of everything and the value of nothing…and have ended with the funeral pyre of Grenfell Tower. 

Three days after the night of Wednesday 14 June, I still haven’t written anything about Grenfell Tower.  I’ve been trying to process the tragedy emotionally and intellectually. Even the pronoun jars.  This is – or should be – all about the pain and anger felt by the victims of the tower block fire. Those feelings are shared by many but have been appropriated by a few to fit their existing worldviews, to serve pre-existing agenda. In the meantime, it seems every journalist has become an expert, every pundit has their opinion.

Grenfell nowI do know a bit about social housing but I’m certainly not an expert on…

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