Options for Britain II


Options for Britain II

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Options for Britain II is an ESRC and Gatsby Charitable Foundation Nuffield College and the [http://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/ Department of Politics and International Relations] , University of Oxford and [http://ppu.politics.ox.ac.uk/ Public Policy Unit, Oxford] funded project which aims to provide an independent and rigorous audit of the UK’s economic, social and constitutional progress and future options. Using evidence which shows "what has worked – and what hasn’t -, why and for whom" , the project will set out key choices both for the electorate and a potential incoming government - regardless of its political complexion. Reflecting this breadth, the participants have been drawn from across the political spectrum – including those who must draft their Parties next manifestos.

Options for Britain II Research Team

[http://www.nuffield.ox.ac.uk/Politics/mclean.htm Iain McLean] - Options for Britain II – Principal Investigator and Official Fellow, Nuffield College, University of Oxford,
*David Halpern – Advisor to Lord Sainsbury of Turville, consultant to the Institute for Government
*Varun Uberoi - Post doctoral research fellow, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford,
*Adam Coutts - Post doctoral research fellow, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford.

Background: Options for Britain (1995)

Options for Britain II is a follow up to its highly influential predecessor, [http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Options-for-Britain/David-Halpern/e/9781855218314/?itm=4#TOC Options for Britain] , which in 1995 brought together a leading group of academics and policy experts to assess the key economic, social and constitutional policy options for Britain. With participants that included David Milliband, Stephen Nickell and David Willetts, and published shortly before a widely anticipated change in government, it was widely credited with influencing the incoming New Labour government over a wide range of policy areas. Its leading editor and researcher, David Halpern, went on to be Chief Analyst in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit.

A decade on, and the British political world is very different. Much of the analysis in Options has become accepted wisdom, and many of the policy proposals have become reality. But there is also a sense of déjà vu. The Labour government has been in power for a decade and governments always find it difficult to refresh themselves in power, as the legacy of their own decisions build up. It is in these historical moments that outside thinking can have a decisive influence, helping to inform the public and key commentators, and to provide a source of ideas for incoming policy-makers to mine.

Current context

In many ways, policy environment is richer and better informed than that in 1995. The incoming government was keen on evidence-based policy. It created its own internal evidence-based think-tank (the Performance and Innovation Unit, which later became the Strategy Unit); encouraged policy research across Departments; built a measurement and target based approach to policy delivery; and substantially increased the funding and independence of [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/ National Statistics] .

The ESRC– a co-funder of Options I - has also helped to enrich the policy environment, helping to correct the more inward looking tendencies of the [http://www.rae.ac.uk/ Research Assessment Exercise] . It has funded, for example, the [http://www.evidencenetwork.org/ Centre for Evidence-Based Policy] , LSE’s Centre for [http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/case/ the Analysis of Social Exclusion] , and the [http://www.ifs.org.uk/ Institute for Fiscal Studies] ; it has encouraged academics to move into mainstream policy research, such as through its [http://www.publicservices.ac.uk/ Public Services Programme] ; and it has encouraged a more active engagement of academics with Government.

But despite this increased activity, the gulf between the academic and research community and the Westminster policy-bubble remains large. This is not unique to the UK. Policy-makers in the heart of national governments often feel frustrated at the apparent lack of relevance or political savvy of independent ‘experts’, while external experts find it difficult to identify which areas of policy are genuinely open to influence or where and when to intervene.

Current proposal: Options for Britain II - a report card for the UK

The current project is funded by the ESRC, Gatsby Charitable Foundation, [http://www.nuffield.ox.ac.uk/ Nuffield College] and the [http://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/ Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford] and [http://ppu.politics.ox.ac.uk/ Public Policy Unit, Oxford] . The methodological approach runs along similar lines to the previous Options for Britain project - marshalling the best expertise from the academic and policy research community to provide an independent and objective appraisal of our options as a country. As in 1995, the process and events are open to representatives from the main political parties and the project runs through 2008 and 2009 so that the outputs will be available in advance of the next general election.

The objective of Options for Britain II is to provide an overarching review of the key economic, social and constitutional choices and challenges facing the UK in the coming decade, alongside an assessment of what has happened over the previous decade. Using evidence which shows what has worked – and what hasn’t - why and for whom, the project will set out key choices both for the electorate and a potential incoming government - regardless of its political complexion. Reflecting this breadth, contributors have been drawn from across the political spectrum – including those who must draft their Parties next manifestos.

In terms of dissemination of project outputs we have commissioned a Special Issue of [http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0032-3179&site=1 Political Quarterly] due to be published in November 2008 which is a separate publication from the main Options for Britain II book which will be in press next year. These project outputs will also be accompanied by dissemination activities via publication in the main stream media as well as presentations and policy briefing sessions to the main political parties and major think tanks within the UK.

Options for Britain II conference

Options for Britain II began with a conference at Nuffield College, Oxford University on February 27th-29th 2008. The aim of the conference was to examine a number of key questions. For instance, how has Britain done in the last decade? How well has the Government performed? And what are the big choices that face us for the next decade? The conference was successful and leading civil servants, [http://www.politicallinks.co.uk/engine.asp?engine.asp?lev1=0&lev2=0&menu=1&ShowPage=body&Body=16112 Nick Canning] , [http://www.politicallinks.co.uk/engine.asp?engine.asp?lev1=0&lev2=0&menu=1&ShowPage=body&Body=16112 Will Cavendish] , [http://www.eurosource.eu.com/engine.asp?lev1=4&lev2=43&menu=577&biog=y&id=19523&page=Stephen%20Aldridge%20:%20Political%20Biography Stephen Aldridge] , Mark Carroll) politicians, David Willetts, policy advisors - Patrick Diamond, Roger Liddle and journalists David Goodhart, [http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/malcolmdean Malcolm Dean] attended amongst others.

The full conference agenda and policy themes covered by the first conference is available at the [http://ppu.politics.ox.ac.uk/ofb/Materials/OfBII_AgendaMASTER.pdf Public Policy Unit, Oxford University] .

Options for Britain II Conference participants – 27th-29th February, Nuffield College

[http://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/about/staff/staff.asp?action=show&person=92 Adam Swift] - Director of the Centre for the Study of Social Justice, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford.

[http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/ESRC_Executives/Director_of_RTD/ Adrian Alsop] - Director for Research, ESRC.

Alexander Evans – Nuffield College, Oxford University.

[http://www.kcl.ac.uk/schools/sspp/mgmt/staff/alisonwolf.html Alison Wolf] - Sir Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management, Kings College, London.

[http://www.ageconcern.org.uk/AgeConcern/policy.asp Andrew Harrop] - Head of Policy, Age Concern.

[http://www.centreforum.org/about/rowlands.html Anthony Rowlands] - Executive Director, CentreForum.

[http://www.sps.cam.ac.uk/soc/staff/bburchell.html Brendan Burchell] – Senior Lecturer, Department of Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge, Magdalene College.

[http://www.hsmc.bham.ac.uk/staff/staffdetails/hamc.htm Chris Ham] - Professor of Health Policy and Management, University of Birmingham.

Dafydd Trystan -

[http://www.port.ac.uk/departments/academic/sshls/staff/title,2207,en.html Dan Finn] - Professor of Social Policy, School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies, University of Portsmouth.

[http://www.youngfoundation.org.uk/node/625 Dan Vale – Young Foundation] . [http://www.shef.ac.uk/geography/staff/dorling_danny/ Danny Dorling] - Professor, Social and Spatial Inequalities Institute, University of Sheffield.

David Baines – Assistant Chief Constable, Cheshire Police.

David Louk – Graduate Student, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford.

[http://www.nuffield.ox.ac.uk/Politics/Miller.htm David Miller] - Professor of Social and Political Theory at Nuffield College, University of Oxford.

David Willetts - Shadow Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills, Conservative Party.

Eddie Reeves – Parliamentary Researcher – Simon Hughes MP.

[http://www.spsw.ox.ac.uk/staff/academic/profile/details/bennett.html Fran Bennett] - Senior Research Fellow, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford.

Giles Wilkes – Options for Britain II research associate.

[http://www.cpa.org.uk/index.html Gillian Crosby] – Director for Centre for Policy on Aging.

[http://www.imf.org/external/np/seminars/eng/2006/central/pdf/hacch2.pdf Graham Haache] – Deputy Director, External Relations Department, International Monetary Fund.

[http://www.ippr.org/aboutippr/staff/?id=73 Guy Lodge] - Senior Researcher, Institute for Public Policy Research.

[http://www.york.ac.uk/healthsciences/gsp/staff/hilarygraham.htm Hilary Graham] - Head of Department of Health Sciences, University of York.

Ian Williamson - London Assembly.

Isabelle Deganis – Graduate Student, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford.

[http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/disciplines/politics/about/staff/green/ Jane Green] - Hallsworth Research Fellow, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester.

[http://rand.org/randeurope/about/staff/Jennifer_Rubin.html Jennifer Rubin] – RAND Europe.

[http://www.housingcorp.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.12539/changeNav/431 Jim Bennett] - Director of Policy, Housing Corporation.

[http://www.lse.ac.uk/people/j.blanden@lse.ac.uk/ Jo Blanden] - Research Fellow, Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics.

[http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/about_us/whos_who/john_appleby.html John Appleby] – Chief Economist, Kings Fund.

[http://www.crim.ox.ac.uk/people/academic/JulianRoberts.htm Julian Roberts] - Professor of Criminology, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford.

Laura Warren - London Assembly.

Richard Best, Baron Best – Former Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

[http://www.centreforum.org/about/wilkins.html Lucy Wilkins] - Researcher, CentreForum.

[http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/malcolmdean Malcolm Dean] – Former Assistant Editor of the Guardian.

[http://www.centreforum.org/about/bell.html Mark Bell] - Researcher, CentreForum.

Mark Carroll - Catalyst Foundation.

[http://www.spsw.ox.ac.uk/staff/research/profile/details/evans.html Martin Evans] - Senior Research Fellow, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford.

[http://www.niesr.ac.uk/staff/staffdetail.php?StaffID=226 Martin Weale] - Director of National Institute of Social and Economic Research.

Mary Robertson – London Assembly.

[http://www.shef.ac.uk/politics/staff/matthewflinders.html Matthew Flinders] - University Lecturer, Department of Politics, University of Sheffield.

[http://www.kcl.ac.uk/schools/law/research/icpr/staff/houghm.html Mike Hough] - Director, Institute for Criminal and Policy Research, Kings College, London.

[http://www.competition-law.ox.ac.uk/members/profile.php?lecturer_code=bamforthn Nick Bamforth] - Fellow in Law, Queen’s College, University of Oxford.

[http://www.ukeha.co.uk/about_board_detail.asp?boardNo=13 Nick Bosanquet] - Professor of Health Policy, Imperial College London.

[http://www.politicallinks.co.uk/engine.asp?engine.asp?lev1=0&lev2=0&menu=1&ShowPage=body&Body=16112 Nick Canning] - Deputy Director, Strategy Unit, Cabinet Office, UK.

Patrick Diamond - Director of Policy and Strategy for the Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

Paul Arden – A former Managing Director of Citigroup, London.

[http://www.spsw.ox.ac.uk/staff/academic/profile/details/gambles.html Richenda Gambles] – Lecturer, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford.

[http://www.ifs.org.uk/people.php?person_id=23 Robert Chote] – Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

[http://www.ifs.org.uk/people.php?person_id=23 Robert Chote] – Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Roger Liddle - Vice Chair (Policy Network).

[http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/moderngov/mgUserInfo.asp?UID=156 Sally Prentice] - Labour Councillor, Lambeth.

[http://www.sussex.ac.uk/migration/profile172305.html Shamit Saggar] - Professor of Politics, Centre for Migration Research, University of Sussex.

[http://rand.org/randeurope/about/staff/Sharif_Ismail.html Sharif Ismail] – RAND Europe.

[http://www.historyandpolicy.org/papers/policy-paper-34.html Simon Szreter] - University Reader in History and Public Policy, University of Cambridge, St Johns College, History and Policy.

[http://www.eurosource.eu.com/engine.asp?lev1=4&lev2=43&menu=577&biog=y&id=19523&page=Stephen%20Aldridge%20:%20Political%20Biography Stephen Aldridge] - Director, Strategy Unit, Cabinet Office, UK.

Stephen Nickell - Warden of Nuffield College, University of Oxford and the Chairman of National Housing and Planning Advice Unit.

[http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/chp/Staff/wilcox.htm Steve Wilcox] - Professor, Centre for Housing Policy, University of York.

[http://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/about/staff/staff.asp?action=show&person=44 Stuart White] - University Lecturer, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford.

[http://people.bath.ac.uk/sh340/ Susan Harkness] - Senior Lecturer, Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath.

[http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/economicHistory/whosWho/profiles/t.leunig@lse.ac.uk.htm Tim Leunig] – Lecturer, Department of Economic History, London School of Economics.

[http://www.lse.ac.uk/people/t.newburn@lse.ac.uk/ Tim Newburn] - Professor of Criminology and Social Justice, Social Policy Department, London School of Economics.

[http://www.politicallinks.co.uk/engine.asp?engine.asp?lev1=0&lev2=0&menu=1&ShowPage=body&Body=16112 Will Cavendish] - Director of Health and well-being, Department of Health.

Published works of Professor Iain McLean

Published works of Dr David Halpern

Monographs (selected)
*Social capital. Polity Press, 2005
*Personal responsibility and changing behaviour: the state of knowledge and its implications for public policy. [with Bates, C.] www.strategy.gov.uk , 2004.
*Life satisfaction: a review of the evidence and policy implications. [with Donovan, N.] www.strategy.gov.uk ,2003.
*Social capital: a discussion paper. [with Aldridge, S.] www.strategy.gov.uk ,2002.
*Options for Britain: a Strategic Policy review. [with Wood, S., White, S. and Cameron, G.] 1996
*Mental health and the built environment. Taylor and Francis, 1995.

Papers (selected)
*A matter of respect. Prospect, July: 40-43, 2005.
*Before the citizenship order: a survey of citizenship education practice in England. [with John, P., Morris, Z.] Journal of Education Policy 17 (2): 217-228, 2002.
*Morals, social trust and inequality: can values explain crime? Brit. J. of Criminology, 41(2): 236-251, 2001.
*The ethnic density effect: results from a national community survey of England and Wales. [with Nazroo, J.] Int. J of Social Psychiatry, Vol. 46 (1), pp 34-46, 2000.
*Minorities and Mental Health. Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 36, No. 5, pp.597-607, 1993
*Effect of Unexpected Demolition Announcement on the Health of Residents. British Medical Journal, Vol. 304, pp. 1229-30, 1992


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