On improving health outcomes

The RSA’s Inclusive Growth Commission, reporting in 2018, recognised the role that poor health can play in contributing to the key challenges of unequal economic growth and poor productivity. Data analysis and visual mapping conducted by the Commission highlighted the association between poor health, economic inactivity and exclusion from labour markets; illness amongst the working […]

On levelling up (part 2)

This blog is an initial response to the recent publication ‘Levelling up our communities: a new social covenant’ by Danny Kruger MP. Let me start by saying that, on the surface, anything that raises the debate around the importance of community is a good thing. On this measure, the recent report by Danny Kruger MP […]

On making sense of crisis

How do we make sense of how the crisis is changing the world as we are living through it? Lots of conversations are taking place around how we track, learn from and make sense of the crisis, our response to it, and how we build bridges to a post-pandemic future. Thinking through the measures that […]

On levelling up (part 1)

There is so much talk, pre- and post-local election, of Levelling Up. The idea that this is the solution to the challenges of those areas ‘left behind’ by the growth seen by London and the South East over the last few decades leaves me cold. This is less about areas ‘left behind’ than it is […]

On balancing competing needs (part 4)

What might this local diversity look like in practice? A cultural theory lens, one I’ve been developing with Matthew Taylor at the RSA,⁠1 looks at the power dynamics between the individual, the collective and the institution in any given social situation and is helpful in making sense of how we might think about a new […]

On the quality of our lives (part 2)

Where we live is where we pursue our own individual dreams of success, where we come together to provide a range of informal support as a community, and where institutional policy, laws and regulations are implemented in practice. We all try to build the foundations for a decent life, where to some extent or another […]

On changing paradigms (part 1)

New and intensifying challenges are forcing us to confront the changing nature of our relationship with each other and with the state. This idea is captured in the idea of a ‘social settlement’, describing those unwritten values that underpin our relationships with each other, our communities and the state we live in. How might a […]

On (dis)investing in prevention

The recent review into Sure Start children’s centres offers a window into a complex system: early years services. They were designed to bring a range of such service sunder one roof and improve access, often in the more disadvantages communities in the UK. Indeed, in my local government role I sat on a board for a […]

On accelerating social innovation

In order to transform public services and improve population health outcomes, we need to accelerate the social innovation process in communities – co-creating solutions from the ‘bottom up’ to tackle complex societal challenges. There are wider economic and societal benefits to be realised from embracing the efforts of community organisers and social entrepreneurs. The challenge […]