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Book published: Introduction to public services

A new book on public services, co-edited by IER's Katharina Sarter has been published by Policy Press. 'Understanding Public Services. A Contemporary Introduction' provides an accessible and comprehensive account of the context within which public services operate, their core functions and internal workings and explores emerging and future developments and challenges.

Tue 28 Feb 2023, 09:23 | Tags: public policy

Major parties' manifestos and implications for Wales

WalesIn a series of blog posts on what the major parties have to say about their spending plans, Wales Public Services 2025 look at pledges, and what this might mean for public services in Wales. Check out Daria Luchinskaya's blogs: What Labour and Plaid Cymru are saying about spending in Wales and What the Conservative and Liberal Democrat manifestos could mean for Wales.

Tue 03 Oct 2017, 18:23 | Tags: Wales, public policy

IER contributes to General Election poverty audit

IER's Gaby Atfield, Peter Dickinson, Erika Kispeter and Sally Wright have assessed the employment policy pledges made by the UK's major parties, focusing especially on how the manifestos address poverty. The analysis is part of the Election Manifesto Poverty Audit, which is organised by the UK chapter of the international organisation Academics Stand Against Poverty. Find the full report here.

Tue 03 Oct 2017, 16:30 | Tags: poverty, public policy

Harnessing growth sectors for poverty reduction


Two further reports have been published by Professor Anne Green, Paul Sissons (Coventry University) and Neil Lee (LSE) from an ESRC-funded project on Harnessing Growth Sectors for Poverty Reduction.

The first report on employment entry finds that there is potential for using a well-targeted, sector-focused approach to increase employment entry and help reduce poverty. Social care and the hospitality industry offer opportunities for sector-specific training programmes for people who find it difficult to access employment. But because these sectors are characterised by low pay policies need to promote career progression as well as job entry. The construction sector is also well placed to provide employment and training opportunities for local residents, and the government could encourage this through procurement and planning policies. There is also growing interest in the potential role of social enterprises in providing local jobs – especially with regard to repairs and maintenance of social housing. Sector-focused work experience is an important way of getting young people and unemployed adults skilled up for work.

The second report examines aspects of job quality. It finds that while job quality should be a critical issue for policymakers there is a lack of empirical evidence from approaches seeking to enhance job quality. Pay and job security are important elements of job quality, as are flexible employment practices that enable people to balance work and caring responsibilities. Trade unions can play an important role in improving job quality outcomes. Where there is evidence from sector-focused approaches to job quality these have sought to link changes in employment conditions with service improvements for employers; utilised procurement as an opportunity to shape job quality; or sought to encourage changes in business models as a precursor to improving job quality. There is a need to pilot and trial different approaches to improving job quality in different sectors and for different types of employment.

New article on Policies for Employability in Cities


Duncan Adam, Gaby Atfield and Anne Green have had an article published in the journal Urban Studies on 'what works' in terms of policies for employability in cities. Employability policies targeting urban job seekers have often had a ‘work first’ focus on quick job entries, neglecting sustainability and progression. This article reviews evidence on ‘what works’, drawing generic lessons from research on locally-focused urban policy initiatives in Great Britain operationalised in the context of persistent worklessness in many cities. The findings highlight the importance of employer engagement to open up job opportunities, recognising the diverse needs of individuals, the significance of personalised support for those furthest from the labour market, and co-ordination of local provision. It is argued that providers need to ensure workless groups have the skills and support to access opportunities created by economic growth. Robust local policy analysis remains challenging but important in the context of limited budgets, payment-by-results and a fragmented policy landscape.

Adam, D., Atfield, G. and Green, A.E. (2017) What works? Policies for employability in cities, Urban Studies 54(5), 1162-1177.

Mon 03 Apr 2017, 12:05 | Tags: employability, local economy, public policy, labour market

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