Recent blog posts from around the School

IAS Blog: Thinking politically - Part I

IAS Blog: Thinking politically - Part I
Description
Written by Dr Jonathan Fisher. The 'age of austerity' has not been kind to Western aid agencies and their staff or to those who would defend them. Though Britain's Department for International Development (DFID) has had its budget 'ring-fenced' since 2010 its counterparts elsewhere in Europe have not been so lucky while its equivalent in Australia – AusAID – has disappeared altogether as an independent entity, subsumed into the country's foreign ministry only weeks ago.
Date:
Tuesday 12th November 2013

IAS Blog: Thinking politically - Part II

IAS Blog: Thinking politically - Part II
Description
Written by Dr Jonathan Fisher. What, however, do we mean by 'political' in the context of development policy and thinking? Almost absent from development discourse prior to the 2000s – as scholar and practitioner Sue Unsworth points out (2009:883) – the word 'politics' has now become an integral part of development language albeit without ever having been clearly defined. Along with terms like 'ownership', 'agency' and even 'development' itself, 'politics' seems to mean something so intuitive and obvious to all that exploring its actual meaning seems like ivory tower navel-gazing to many policy-makers.
Date:
Tuesday 12th November 2013

Blog: The paradoxical nature of being successful

Blog: The paradoxical nature of being successful
Description
Written by Ian Briggs. The world of social science can be an odd place at times. Much is quite rightly being made of the impact of severe reductions in public spending, but when social scientists look at the levels of satisfaction with public services, many see the general quality of services remaining high.
Date:
Wednesday 6th November 2013

Blog: Delivery of public services and economies of scale: Cooperation as an alternative for small municipalities

Blog: Delivery of public services and economies of scale: Cooperation as an alternative for small municipalities
Description
Written by Germà Bel. The economic crisis has strongly affected many developed countries, and has caused serious tensions in government finances. These constraints are particularly important at the local level, because local governments have limited taxing bases, and fiscal competition is stronger. Policy discussion on local government reform and local cost reductions, as well as increasing efficiency in local service delivery, is widespread.
Date:
Tuesday 5th November 2013

Blog: Want a 50% turnout in a local election? Try Neighbourhood Planning

Blog: Want a 50% turnout in a local election? Try Neighbourhood Planning
Description
Written by Chris Game. Yes, there were other news stories last weekend – Grangemouth, St Jude, Plodgate, Merkel's mobile, Lady Gaga's new album. Still, a more than 50% turnout in something local governmenty surely merited some kind of headline.
Date:
Friday 1st November 2013

Blog: Innovation in social care: it's the how as much as the what

Blog: Innovation in social care: it's the how as much as the what
Description
Written by Catherine Needham. People with personal budgets need to have something to buy. For some people the money will be spent on a personal assistant. But there will be lots of people who don't have a big enough budget to employ someone, or don't want to take on employer responsibilities. For them a more attractive option may be to buy some support from within the community.
Date:
Tuesday 22nd October 2013

Blog: Planning and the new (new) localism - what chance of success?

Blog: Planning and the new (new) localism - what chance of success?
Description
Written by Nancy Holman. Planning in a time of austerity is never easy – budgets are cut, needs are great and regulation can be seen as stifling growth. In England we are in just such a position and in the midst of a reformulation of planning that is on the one hand meant to deliver growth and on the other designed to empower communities. Most of these reforms are being couched in the language of localism with community participation at the forefront of policy.
Date:
Monday 21st October 2013

IAS Saving Humans Blog: …and in conclusion

IAS Saving Humans Blog: …and in conclusion
Description
Written by Dr Rita Floyd. Over the course of this week I have looked at some detail at the Nobel Peace Prize. I have argued that the prize committee does not always simply passively award the prize to obvious persons after their good deeds are done; for example, to the likes of Mr Mandela or Mr Gorbachev after apartheid or after the end of the Cold War. Instead I have argued that the actions of the committee can be understood as agenda-setting and deeply political.
Date:
Monday 21st October 2013

IAS Saving Humans Blog: The biggest losers and the biggest winners

IAS Saving Humans Blog: The biggest losers and the biggest winners
Description
Written by Dr Rita Floyd. Today I want to look at those individuals who have missed out on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Most prominently mentioned in this context is Mahatma Gandhi, whose non-violent struggle against British rule in India is practically synonymous with peaceful change.
Date:
Thursday 17th October 2013

IAS Saving Humans Blog: Nobel Peace Prize. Agenda-setting continued

IAS Saving Humans Blog: Nobel Peace Prize. Agenda-setting continued
Description
Written by Dr Rita Floyd. Having working in the area of environmental security studies for the past ten years I am all too familiar with the linkage between war and/or insecurity and climate change/large scale environmental degradation. Yet at the time of the award I remember reading many editorials asking what the linkage between peace and climate change is, and whether the IPCC was the right choice.
Date:
Wednesday 16th October 2013

Blog: Could a lack of trust between professionals undermine health and social care integration?

Blog: Could a lack of trust between professionals undermine health and social care integration?
Description
Written by Catherin Mangan. The latest guidance on the health and social care integration transformation fund emphasises the need for 'genuine commitment to partnership and recognition of the challenges' to ensure success. We all know that successful integration will rely on genuine, positive relationships between health and social care professionals in the system. But are we taking these positive relationships for granted?
Date:
Wednesday 16th October 2013

IAS Saving Humans Blog: Most popular?

IAS Saving Humans Blog: Most popular?
Description
Written by Dr Rita Floyd. The Nobel Peace Prize's official website includes a list of the most popular Peace laureates of all time. It does not mention how popularity is measured. And indeed many of the entries in the top ten do not beg that question. Martin Luther King Jr. leads the list. He was awarded the Prize in 1964 for his legendary struggle against racism and for equality and human rights. Jane Addams is number two. Less well known than Mr King she founded the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in 1919, and worked for many years to get the great powers to disarm and conclude peace agreements.
Date:
Tuesday 15th October 2013

Blog: Fast scholarship is not always good scholarship: relevant research requires more than an online presence.

Blog: Fast scholarship is not always good scholarship: relevant research requires more than an online presence.
Description
Written by Catherine Durose and Katherine Tonkiss. Blogging and social media are tools to facilitate engagement, but are they in danger of being treated as ends in themselves? Catherine Durose and Katherine Tonkiss argue for more awareness on how the research process can democratise knowledge. Rather than quickly responding to recent events, scholars should look towards sustained engagement with the participants of research and those affected by it.
Date:
Tuesday 15th October 2013

IAS Saving Humans Blog: And the winner is…

IAS Saving Humans Blog: And the winner is…
Description
Written by Dr Rita Floyd. On Friday last week this year's Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) 'for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons', and for rendering the use of chemical weapons a taboo under international law. The use of chemical weapons is prohibited under international law since the 1925 Geneva Convention, however, only since the 1992-93 Chemical Weapons Convention is the production and storage of such weapons prohibited.
Date:
Monday 14th October 2013

Blog: It's been 30 years coming, but Clause 38 is still really bad news

Blog: It's been 30 years coming, but Clause 38 is still really bad news
Description
Written by Chris Game. Sometimes you hear "All things", but the ancient proverb and the modern Guinness advert agree that it's "Good things come to those who wait". Unfortunately, bad things do as well, and for local government Clause 38 of the Local Audit and Accountability Bill is a bad thing that's been waiting to happen for 30 years and now finally has.
Date:
Monday 14th October 2013

Blog: Leading a Council: insights from Warwickshire

Blog: Leading a Council: insights from Warwickshire
Description
Written by Izzi Seccombe. "May 2nd 2013 was a greatly significant day. Not only was I appointed leader of Warwickshire County Council, but, as the first female leader, I felt incredibly proud and honoured to be steering our county borough into the future."
Date:
Friday 11th October 2013

Blog: Tommy Robinson Quits the English Defence League: Damascene Conversion or a Cynical Tactic?

Blog: Tommy Robinson Quits the English Defence League: Damascene Conversion or a Cynical Tactic?
Description
This week EDL leader Tommy Robinson quit from the English Defence League and began collaborating with the counter extremist Quilliam Foundation, however, POLSIS researcher Alex Oaten argues that there is little for us to be positive about.
Date:
Thursday 10th October 2013

Blog: If I asked you to describe a 21st century public servant, what would you say?

Blog: If I asked you to describe a 21st century public servant, what would you say?
Description
Written by Catherine Mangan. I read with interest the recent announcement from Birmingham City Council that they did not intend to recruit a replacement chief executive, but would instead create a 'lead officer' role. A few years ago it would have been unthinkable not to have a chief executive at the head of a council. Now, with councils debating what their role is, and the need to seize an opportunity to make savings, more and more councils are making the decision to remove the chief executive post entirely.
Date:
Thursday 10th October 2013

Blog: The managerial-political interface: strong relationships prosper in difficult times

Blog: The managerial-political interface: strong relationships prosper in difficult times
Description
Written by Andrew Muter, Chief Executive of Newark and Sherwood District Council. "The Chief Executive's leadership position in Local Government operates in a different context to simple hierarchies. We all manage at the political interface – what some have termed a grey area between the hurly-burly of big P Politics and the general management of the organization. And the relationship at the core is that between the Leader and Chief Executive."
Date:
Thursday 10th October 2013

Blog: Closing the loop: bridging the gap between provision and implementation of feedback

Blog: Closing the loop: bridging the gap between provision and implementation of feedback
Description
'Closing the loop: bridging the gap between provision and implementation of feedback' is a project funded by a Higher Education Academy collaborative Teaching Development Grant. Running from June 2013 through December 2014, it brings together four researchers – Dr Helen Williams, Dr Bettina Renz, Dr Nicola Smith and Dr Hardeep Basra – in the politics departments at the University of Nottingham and the University of Birmingham.
Date:
Wednesday 9th October 2013

Blog: Relational leadership, group dynamics and personal identity.

Blog: Relational leadership, group dynamics and personal identity.
Description
Written by Kim Ryley. Kim Ryley is a recent Past President of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and a Trustee of the Leadership Centre. He has 14 years experience as a Chief Executive in four upper tier local authorities. Kim is currently a freelance Leadership Development Consultant and Director of Torque Leadership Associates Ltd.
Date:
Tuesday 8th October 2013

Blog: Keeping the door open to new ideas on leadership: Why the public sector may be leading the way

Blog: Keeping the door open to new ideas on leadership: Why the public sector may be leading the way
Description
Written by Ian Briggs. In 1981, Ralf Stogdill published with Bernie Bass a taxonomy of leadership research. To scholars of leadership this Magnus opus has performed two vital functions: firstly, it has been invaluable in keeping open cathedral doors in a gale; and secondly as a work of undoubted scholarly value that it is has served to demonstrate how often confused and misplaced a great deal of leadership research in the past has been.
Date:
Monday 7th October 2013

Blog: Following the UN route on Syria

Blog: Following the UN route on Syria
Description
Written by Nicholas J. Wheeler. After two years of paralysis in the face of the growing humanitarian catastrophe engulfing Syria, the UN Security Council finally took centre-stage last Friday. Resolution 2118 that was adopted unanimously on 27 September at ministerial level broke new ground in the Council's history. For the first time, the fifteen-member body agreed 'that the use of chemical weapons anywhere constitutes a threat to international peace and security.' The significance of this language is that as the body responsible for maintaining 'international peace and security', such a determination is a prior condition for the Council activating the use of coercive enforcement measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
Date:
Friday 4th October 2013

Blog: George Osborne's budget surplus: paid for by local government

Blog: George Osborne's budget surplus: paid for by local government
Description
Written by Chris Game. In his party conference speech on Monday, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced that a Conservative Government would seek, by the end of the 2015-20 Parliament, to have eliminated completely the roughly £120 billion national deficit and be running a budget surplus.
Date:
Friday 4th October 2013

Blog: It's all about the governance - and elections don't always solve anything

Blog: It's all about the governance - and elections don't always solve anything
Description
Written by Professor Paul Jackson. In early 2012 a group of Salafi-Jihadi militant groups took control of northern Mali's major population centres prompting a French-led international intervention that incorporated the African Union and other regional militaries. On January 11th 2013, French forces started a successful offensive that stopped Mali's complete collapse, allowing sufficient leeway to hold elections in July 2013 during which democracy was held to be the victor with many people openly defying threats of violence to cast their votes. Largely forgotten in the wake of the horrors of Islamic terrorism in Kenya and the continuing conflagration in Syria, could Mali offer a model of successful intervention in conflict?
Date:
Friday 4th October 2013

Blog: A new response to the 'jaws of doom'

Blog: A new response to the 'jaws of doom'
Description
Catherine Staite responds to Local Government Chronicle's anonymous 'Insider' columnist about the 'jaws of doom' and INLOGOV's New Model of Public Services.
Date:
Thursday 3rd October 2013

Blog: Caught in the crossfire: local authority outsourcing and the murky world of employment law

Blog: Caught in the crossfire: local authority outsourcing and the murky world of employment law
Description
Written by Ian Briggs. Given the extent of legislation affecting officers and members in local government, it can be rather misleading to see the influence of Westminster solely through the lens of direct local government legislation. Wider legislation on employment has arguably had as big an impact on the way that local government and local government services are delivered.
Date:
Thursday 3rd October 2013

Blog: The unintended consequences of foreign intervention

Blog: The unintended consequences of foreign intervention
Description
Written by Professor Paul Jackson. After the horrors of the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, there will be inevitable questions about the nature of Islamic terrorism in East Africa. However, the attack itself is part of an on-going conflict in Kenya that in turn is part of a bigger regional conflagration based on Somalia. In fact the attack on the mall can be traced back to an international intervention that produced a number of unintended consequences, one of which has been the transformation of the group that perpetrated the attack, Al-Shabaab.
Date:
Tuesday 1st October 2013

Blog: The Butler 1944 Education Act: both milestone and millstone

Description
A 'Legislative game-changer' was what we were asked for. Or was it 'Legislative Game-changer'? No matter; this one was both. It's exactly a half-century since the summer of '63: Profumo and Keeler, Philby, the Great Train Robbery, the Beatles, Sindy dolls, and my leaving the boys' grammar school, to which I'd 'won' a place seven years earlier by passing the compulsory 11-plus exam, and going to university. Statement of fact, but also declaration of interest.
Date:
Tuesday 1st October 2013

Blog: The Housing Acts of 1980: a watershed in housing policy

Blog: The Housing Acts of 1980: a watershed in housing policy
Description
Alan Murie and Chris Watson are former Directors of the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Birmingham. Alan Murie is Emeritus Professor of Urban and Regional Studies and Chris Watson is Honorary Senior Lecturer. Both are members of the Housing and Communities Research Network in the University's School of Social Policy.
Date:
Wednesday 25th September 2013
Displaying 91 to 120 of 297
Previous 2 3 4 5 6 Next

 

idd-blog

 

inlogov-blog

 

POLSIS blog

 

Departmental news

School of Government and Society hosts Foreign Office Seminar on EU Enlargement

School of Government and Society hosts Foreign Office Seminar on EU Enlargement
Description
The University of Birmingham organized a seminar with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as part of the Balance of Competences Review in the field of EU Enlargement.
Date:
25/07/2014

50 faces of CREES #53 - Dr Tim Haughton

50 faces of CREES #53 - Dr Tim Haughton
Description
I arrived in CREES in September 2003 initially on a three year contract to cover for Judy Batt, but have been here ever since, serving most recently as Director of CREES from 2012-14. In that post, it was a pleasure and an honour to initiate and lead the 50th anniversary celebrations (including arranging the 50+ faces of CREES!), particularly the special annual conference which so many CREESniki attended.
Date:
25/07/2014

Dr Tim Haughton hands over the Directorship of CREES to Dr Richard Connolly and Dr Jeremy Morris

Dr Tim Haughton hands over the Directorship of CREES to Dr Richard Connolly and Dr Jeremy Morris
Description
After two years as the Director of CREES, Tim Haughton hands the Directorship of the Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies to Richard Connolly and Jeremy Morris.
Date:
25/07/2014

The Conversation: How harsher sanctions could help Putin turn Russia back into the Soviet Union

The Conversation: How harsher sanctions could help Putin turn Russia back into the Soviet Union
Description
Written by Dr Richard Connolly. The downing of flight MH17 has caused attention to shift once again to the prospect of even harsher penalties being imposed upon Russia by Western countries. Up to this point, sanctions have been limited to individuals within or close to Russia's ruling elite, as well as a few associated companies.
Date:
24/07/2014

IGS podcast: Ethics and the Holocaust

IGS podcast: Ethics and the Holocaust
Description
Speakers: Professor Marc Silberman, University of Wisconsin - Madison "The Ethics of Teaching Holocaust Violence". Justin Court, University of Wisconsin – Madison "The Ethics of Viewing Holocaust Violence".
Date:
23/07/2014