The problem with ‘BAME’ within a UK public health context– one size really doesn’t fit all 

It’s a term widely used by politicians, educators, and the media in the UK to describe Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups – but we need to be wary of using ‘BAME’, especially within a public health context. Dr Sandhya Duggal draws on her doctoral research to reflect on some of the key issues associated with the term ‘BAME’, with reference to the Indian Punajabi community. Her work highlights two key recommendations – the importance of recognising heterogeneity and multi-generational differences – something ‘BAME’ fails to acknowledge. 

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Can Animal Assisted Therapies Help to Tackle Issues of Wellbeing and Mental Health?

The role of animals in supporting mental health and emotional wellbeing is probably not a modern phenomenon. Myers (1998) draws our attention to the book ‘De Canibus Britannicus’, written in the sixteenth century by Dr Cairs in which he advocated the therapeutic use of dogs and recommended that a person afflicted by illness should carry a small dog on their bosom to soak up the disease. In 1699 John Locke prescribed giving children small animals, including dogs, birds or even squirrels, to look after, in order to foster the development of ‘tender feelings and responsibility for others’ (Garforth, 1964, p.154).  The assumption was that this would help children to control their innately ‘beast like’ characteristics (Myers, 1998). In the first of her two guest posts this week on Power to Persuade, Dr Alison Broad the Director of Primary Initial Teacher Education examines the question – can animal assisted therapies help to tackle the issues of wellbeing and mental health?

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What Australians think about poverty - and how it can change (part 2)

Maiy Azize explains the important lessons of Anglicare Australia ‘s recent study of attitudes towards welfare and poverty for how anti-poverty advocates can use language effectively. Boldly stating our support for all people in poverty, as well as focussing on their strength and resilience are two key recommendations.

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Does tree-shaking work? Evidence based policy and welfare conditionality

This article from Dr Simone Casey explores why Australia’s Mutual Obligation requirements are so demanding and whether this is based on evidence about what works. It asks why critical research evidence has not received more attention from Australia ‘s activation policy makers. She argues that lack of engagement with critical social research is a limitation which hampers social justice efforts and reflects disregard for social suffering, and says there is plenty of room for stronger engagement with participatory policy design approaches. Dr Casey is an Associate of the RMIT Future Social Services Institute.

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Why government agencies forget

Scholars have, for decades, suggested that organisational amnesia can negatively impact the effectiveness of government agencies. So why do they forget? Maria Katsonis has summarised the findings of Alastair Stark (University of Queensland) for why public institutions may be unable - or unwilling - to access and/or use past experiences to help deliver better public outcomes.

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CHARITIES STRUGGLE TO MEASURE OUTCOMES

In this post, Zoe Callis, Ami Seivwright, and Paul Flatau of the Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia write about the practice of outcome measurement in Western Australia, including its facilitators and barriers. This media release provides a snapshot of the major findings, but readers are encouraged to peruse the entire series. Their research suggests that while efforts to measure social outcomes has increased in the last year, the actual practice has decreased. The main barrier? Funding. But, there are others…

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Evidence and Management of the 7 Deadly Sins in Performance Management: Because People will be People

Kicking off an exciting week of posts from the Public Service Research Group at UNSW Canberra, today’s post from Professor Deborah Blackman (@debbiebl2), Dr Fiona Buick (@fibuick) and Professor Michael O’Donnell explores the ‘seven deadly sins’ of performance management that emerged in their recent research.

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Islamophobia: The elephant in the research

Research on marginalised communities has a history of being weaponised against those very communities, marginalising them even further. This weaponisation, and the fear of it, can silence discussion on important social issues. Here, Sandra Elhelw Wright reflects on how this plays out in the context of research on domestic violence in Australian Muslim communities. 

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Urgent action is needed to address financial exclusion

As the 2019 New South Wales State election is fast approaching (March 23, 2019), a policy think tank on financial inclusion has proposed an election platform paper with specific state level concerns and possibilities. Jenni Beetson-Mortimer (@BeetsonJenni) who heads up this coalition – NSW Financial Inclusion Network,  is our blog contributor today. Jenni is the CEO of Northern Rivers Community Gateway, a registered not-for-profit which provides welfare and community capacity building programs for disadvantaged individuals and communities across NSW and extending to the Far North Coast, New England and Mid North Coast of the state. Located at the forefront of service provision, Jenni bring her experiences, knowledges and collaborative scholarship to persuade NSW policy makers to act on the issue of financial inclusion.

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