Recurrent spending cuts and increasing demand are placing huge pressure on our public services. Our work is focused on how our public services are responding to these pressures, not least in regard to future funding, improving service quality and developing new policy approaches such as early intervention, community wealth building, and shared services.
We take an active interest in the role of the ‘third sector’. For example, we have undertaken several studies on the growth of social enterprises, including a monograph for Unity Trust bank on ‘Social enterprise for public service’.
A key strand of our work on public services is healthcare, in particular how to improve productivity and promote the integration of care. We have published reports and held events on the future of the NHS (healthcare the next five years), mental health, healthcare and housing, adult social care, and on Health and Wellbeing Boards.
We are well known in the healthcare policy world and work with a range of different organisations. For example, we recently carried out a review for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants on ‘NHS foundation trusts’ councils of governors – effective and representative?’ and a study for One Housing Group on ‘NHS surplus land for supported housing’. We have hosted several public service debates, including events with leading politicians on the NHS in London, Leeds, Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester.
An important strand of our work has concentrated on how public services and the state can help eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities. We have, for example, worked with New Philanthropy Capital and charitable foundations, such as the Webb Memorial Trust on ‘Poverty and income inequality’; the Barrow Cadbury Trust, on a ground breaking study on ‘Poverty in suburbia’; and with Aviva and the National Association of Pension Funds on ‘Policy solutions for the under-pensioned’.
We have also undertaken research on the ‘Future of school and community sport’. This included conducting an opinion poll of sports teachers, which was profiled in the national media.