Civil servants are often criticised for forming policy within the ‘Westminster bubble’, removed from the realities on the ground. A recent event hosted by the Institute for Government and the Big Lottery Fund, revealed examples of how policymakers and practitioners have tried to burst that bubble.
By profession I am an Emergency Medicine Doctor. I work for the Department of Work and Pensions advising on the medical implications of different benefits and policies. The story I’m about to tell you illustrates why I’ve become interested in Connecting Policy with Practice and what I’m learning on the programme so far.
Matt Wood is Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Crick Centre, University of Sheffield. He is working on a three year ESRC Future Leaders research project that aims improve stakeholder engagement in public bodies, with a methodology of co-production. Last week he sat in on a Connecting Policy with Practice workshop, and here he offers some of his reflections.
People's lives can be complicated, and their paths towards more stable, fulfilled futures can be difficult. Here Helen Ryman, Learning and Evaluation Manager at the Birmingham Voluntary Services Council, and current member of the Connecting Policy with Practice cohort, introduces her work for the programme and explores two different approaches to understanding the needs and assets of people with multiple needs.
Hi, this is a first for me, ‘blogging’ so I guess I want to start by introducing myself - who I am and what I do. I also want to talk about why being a member of the Big Lottery Fund and IfG ‘Connecting Policy with Practice’ cohort this year is so exciting for me and what I hope to achieve from it….
I am the head of Talent Match London – a programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund that is all about working out what works in supporting young people aged 18-24 into positive, productive futures. We develop youth-led local partnerships designed to address all aspects of a young person’s life, so I am delighted to be involved in the Connecting Policy with Practice programme, which this year is exploring issues around service-user involvement and ‘whole-person’ solutions.
We’re very excited to be launching the second year of our partnership programme with Big Lottery Fund. Connecting Policy with Practice: People Powered Change is a programme that brings together Whitehall policymakers and frontline practitioners to understand better how policy ideas translate (or don’t) on the ground.
It’s hard to believe that six months have gone by since we all first got together at the Institute to start this programme. And we have now completed the final workshop where we brought together not the initial vague thoughts, hunches and preconceptions that we had at the beginning but shared experiences, insights and greater understanding of the challenges that face every policy maker.
Those of you who read my last blog may remember that I talked about the scouting movement in the UK. As an adult volunteer, I see young people involved at all levels in the organisation and know how powerful that is.
On Friday, I visited the 999 Club in Deptford with Tamsyn Roberts of the Cabinet Office. We are constructing a business case for some of the services they offer – specifically those designed to reduce chaotic and repeated use of crisis health services.