Transforming social policies: bridgeheads for change – two online open events with the British Academy

As the UK emerges from the pandemic, how can it create a new economic, social and health dynamic and equilibrium? The pandemic, poor long-term economic performance and the Black Lives Matter movement have revealed many dimensions of the current state of society, regional inequality and employment which need to change. A key consequence of the pandemic has been its highly discriminatory impacts between families, demographic groups, and communities according to two reports by the British Academy, based on wide ranging evidence across three broad societal areas: health and wellbeing; knowledge, employment and skills; and communities, culture and belonging.

The crisis is changing the value placed on health and wellbeing; opened up new possibilities of how working life might be different in the future (with wider ramifications); and has revealed wide ranging racial inequality and lack of resilience amongst poor or vulnerable families. What strategic issues offer fertile spaces for more radical thinking in charting new paths for social change? Are Brexit and the pandemic resulting in significant shifts in public expectations, or will the desire for ‘normality’ and rapid economic bounce-back mean that the legacy of the latter will largely be ephemeral for the majority of people?

‘Levelling up’ is both a political and economic project but what new social policy thinking is needed for it to actually work? With inter-group inequalities much harder to address than inter-regional inequalities, how could policies for people and places interact more effectively, beyond physical investment in some towns, cities and localities?

The power of government has increased over the pandemic, but it faces a triple challenge: reversing austerity and the backlog in public services, ‘levelling-up’ and putting public finances back on a sustainable footing. How can it work differently to marshal ground-shifting resources and effort, and listen to those less powerful? Please join us to discuss these challenging questions – and identify the barriers to change. This event is hosted in collaboration with the British Academy and is part of celebrating 10 years of Understanding Society, building on our theme of transforming social policies.

There are two online 90 minute events over two days.

Day 1: 22 September 3pm-4.30pm

Chair: Hetan Shah, Chief Executive, The British Academy

Better public health and mental wellbeing

Professor Vittal Katikireddi, MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow; NRS Senior Clinical Research Fellow and an honorary Consultant in Public Health at NHS Health Scotland.

Improving working lives: job quality, mobility and flexibility

Dr Mark Williams, Reader in Human Resource Management, School of Business and Management, Queen Mary University of London.

Lifting families out of poverty

Professor Morag Treanor, Deputy Chair of the Poverty and Inequality Commission in Scotland.

Register to attend here

Day 2: 23 September 3pm- 4.30pm

Chair: Hetan Shah, Chief Executive, The British Academy

How has politics changed?

Professor Paul Whiteley, Department for Government, University of Essex

Public attitudes to welfare and inequality

Sir John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow at NatCen, Professor of Politics, Strathclyde University

The dynamics of power sharing: who should lead?

Dr Arianna Giovanni, Associate Professor in Local Politics and Public Policy, DeMontfort University

Register to attend here


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