On 70 years of the NHS

The NHS is 70 years old this month. With a long-term funding settlement now in place, in a short series of blogs from the RSA’s Public Services & Communities team, we are highlighting different approaches that NHS policy makers and senior leaders should consider in making the NHS fit for its 80th birthday. It was […]

On being a public entrepreneur

The disruptive innovation spilling out of Silicon Valley and other hotbeds of tech start-ups can captivate our imagination. For those trying to make change happen in their own communities and organisations, for those seeking to stimulate economic growth in new and emerging fields, and for those trying to use tech to change the way things […]

On the challenge of rebuilding local public services

Our public services are looking increasingly broken, and they look more broken in some areas than others. Why should this be? The UK remains one of the most centralised states, yet economic and social challenges play out every day in communities up and down the country. Crucially, local government and its partners are well placed […]

On the dismantling of local public services

Our public services are looking increasingly broken, and they look more broken in some areas than others. Why should this be? The UK remains one of the most centralised states, yet economic and social challenges play out every day in communities up and down the country. Crucially, local government and its partners are well placed […]

On public services in the 2020s

The UK remains one of the most centralised states, yet economic and social challenges play out every day in our communities. Local government and its partners are well placed to understand need and be a champion for their place. But for local public services to effectively address these issues there need a new relationship between […]

On being a geographer

Geography was the one subject that both fascinated me and made sense to me. I was always intrigued by its broad canvas: how could a subject range from understanding the flow of water in rivers to measuring the urban heat island to the challenge of social inequality? Superficially, it can make no sense, and so […]

On social movements as energy for change

Social movements are about trying to change the status quo. Maybe you’re fighting for a particular service to be provided in the first place, because someone you love or care about has needs that aren’t being met. Perhaps you’re campaigning to retain a valued service in the long run because the consequences of cuts on […]

On outdated public services

As office workers and schoolchildren were hard at work on the afternoon of 12 May 2008, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Sichuan province in China. The effects were devastating: over 87,000 died or went missing, 4.8 million were left homeless and the cost of rebuilding amounted to $137.5bn. But the earthquake also had an impact […]

On long-term ambitions in a short-term world

What do you do when the lessons of the past don’t necessarily apply to the future?   Four out of every ten people starting their first year of school this year will celebrate their 100th birthday in 2112. We simply can’t imagine what the landscapes of their life will look like, what challenges and opportunities they will face, […]

On Outcomes

I have to admit I get disproportionately agitated when others show they don’t understand what an outcome is and why it matters. So here’s my summary version, for the record.  An outcome is a condition of wellbeing for whole populations: children, adults or families. It’s framed in the positive: all young people are of a […]

On social models of health

We often hear about the strain on the NHS: rising demand with limited finances. The NHS has a five year plan for change, and one of the main changes planned is for greater patient involvement and greater public participation. This is where the RSA’s work, bringing together leaders from across healthcare to realise what a […]

On health prevention

In 1854 Dr John Snow plotted cholera outbreaks in Soho, London, and related them to a contaminated water supply, dispelling the myth it was spread by miasma in the air. In 1890s New York Jacob Riis used photographs to graphically illustrate the squalor among the tenements, describing “evils more destructive than wars” that impacted catastrophically […]