How can we improve the quality of public services? A public debate hosted by the Health Services Management Centre (HSMC), University of Birmingham


Date: Tuesday 31st March, 11-12.30        Venue: Law, Lecture Theatre 2, University of Birmingham

This house believes that ‘given the challenges we face, choice and competition are the least worst way of reforming public services’


  • Sir Julian Le Grand, Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy, London School of Economics and former health advisor to Tony Blair (speaking for the motion)
  • „„Dr. Robert Page, Reader in Democratic Socialism and Social Policy, Institute of Applied Social Studies, University of Birmingham (speaking against the motion)
  • „„Prof. Jon Glasby, HSMC Director (chair)

Faced with a series of financial, demographic and social challenges, governments around the world are grappling with very difficult decisions about the future of their welfare services. In the UK, a key contribution to this debate has been made by Sir Julian Le Grand, Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and a former health advisor to the British Prime Minister. One of many of Julian’s contributions has been to argue that greater choice and competition can be powerful tools for reform, potentially having more positive impact and fewer negative knock-on effects than other approaches (such as trusting front-line professionals to deliver a good service, relying on targets and performance management, or drawing on service user voice).

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Social Policy and LGBTQ led Interfaith Event


Last month, the Department of Social Policy teamed up with the University LGBTQ Association to host an LGBTQ focussed interfaith event as part of LGBTQ History Month. The event was designed as a networking event to create debate in smaller groups and to let speakers and traditional audience members discuss with one another the issues of faith and sexuality.

LGBTQ and faith issues are important in our society of growing multiculturalism. Yet despite this growing diversity and growing public acceptance for gay rights, religion and faith is still an issue today. In general, Anti-LGBT sentiments in religion can both cause personal anxiety over sexual orientation and gender for LGBTQ people, and lead them to being isolated from their culture and community. Stonewall surveys found that 75% of young gay people attending faith schools have experienced homophobic bullying. This isolation can be alleviated through finding more supportive branches of faiths.

The event had speakers included Rabbi Leah Jordan from liberal Judaism, Rose Neelam from the Muslim Women’s Charity the Safra Project, Rev Dr Catherine Shelley from the Anglican Church, Rev Andrew Braizer from the Methodist Church , Fr Patrick Mileham from the Catholic church, and speakers from the University of Birmingham Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society. Unfortunately, Sikh and Hindu Associations were unable to attend.

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Evaluating health policy reforms under the Coalition Government, 2010-2015


When: 24 April 2015 (10am – 5pm)      Where: HSMC, University of Birmingham

Cost: £40 (per person, including lunch)    Key note speaker: Lord Philip Hunt

Despite the Conservative’s pledge in 2010 for `no more top-down re-organisations’, the Coalition reforms (2010-2015) have been described as a re-organisation you can see from space.’ These reforms have precipitated clinically-led commissioning, management cuts, and further provider competition, among others. Combined with demographic change, service developments and financial pressures, the past 5 years have been dramatic as any in the NHS history. This symposium will explore the implementation and emerging impact of these reforms, and consider future health policy under the new government.

To register and pay by debit/credit card, please use this LINK 

For any further queries please contact Bal Loyal,

Social Policy – Spotlight on ‘Employability’ (Throughout February 2015)


Throughout February Social Policy students will have access to a range of events and activities especially designed to support career planning and employment skills.

  • ‘What’s Next?’ employability conference. 3rd year Social Policy students only. Wednesday 4th Feb 2015 @ The mac. Register here
  • Weekly career guidance drop-in sessions exclusively for Social Policy students. Open to all years. Every Wednesday 1.30pm-3pm, 9th Floor Muirhead Tower, room 911.
  • Delivering a knock-out presentation: A masterclass. A how-to guide to giving effective presentations inside and outside the classroom. 1st and 2nd year students only. Monday 9th February 11am -12noon Muirhead Tower, room 710. Register here:
  • ‘Finding Hidden Work Experience’ – A how-to session to support Social Policy students in approaching organisations to ask for an internship or work experience. Open to all years. Friday 13th February 1pm Muirhead Tower, room 415. Register here:
  • Professional mentors – Want access to a mentor who will help you to build confidence or provide you with insight into a particular career? Come and hear about the University mentoring scheme! 1st and 2nd years only. Wednesday 25th February 1pm Muirhead Tower, Room 427. Register here:

Social Impact Reporter – Exclusive to UoB students. Up to 6 opportunities available


Work placement opportunity with a small community interest company (CIC) based in Smethwick. TAAGS (Training Advocacy & Guidance Services) are a group advocating on behalf of the Deaf community in and around the West Midlands.

We are looking to assemble a team of students from multi disciplinary academic fields to conduct research on data gathered from a year long pilot project. The main object is to demonstrate the Social, economic and environmental impact of our drop in centres here at TAAGS. Your specialist skills will identify and uncover the extent of impact TAAGS have achieved through working with the deaf community and services.

You will be working as part of a small team which will include researchers from other disciplines. The object will be to measure social impact and decipher data from a year long pilot project that has highlighted the value of this specific service with the Deaf community. We need your help to formalise the data and ask what you can see that we may have missed.

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IRiS Seminar: Migrant Children and the Politics of Irregular Migration

Tuesday 20 January 2015, 12.30pm to 2pm, Room 710, 7th floor Muirhead Tower

Talk by Jacob Lind, Dr Anna Lundberg and Dr Michael Strange, Malmӧ University. Discussant: Dr Nando Sigona, University of Birmingham. 

How the experiences of undocumented migrant children and families compare in Malmo and Birmingham? Jacob Lind (currently visiting researcher at IRiS), Dr Anna Lundberg and Dr Michael Strange will present their project ‘Undocumented children’s rights claims’, a multidisciplinary study project on agency and contradictions between different levels of regulation and practice that reveals undocumented children’s human rights.

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Why we need to keep talking about gender and leadership


Judith Smith, Director of Policy, Nuffield Trust writes for HSMC viewpoint about Why we need to keep talking about gender and leadership. The original article and other posts for HSMC viewoint can be found here.

In 1987, like generations of NHS graduate management trainees, I made my way to Harrogate for the 2-day assessment centre which determined which bright-eyed and bushy-tailed graduates were to be admitted to the national scheme.  I can still recall how surprised and impressed I was that the final appointments panel was chaired by a woman chief executive, and that she took time during the interview to talk to me about the NHS’ opportunities and support for women managers.  Bear in mind that a similar interview for the then British Rail scheme, I had been asked why ever a woman would be interested in trains, and at another for the electricity supply industry, I found myself completely surrounded by male engineers and aspirant trainees.

So do we still need to keep talking about gender and leadership almost 30 years later, or is this yesterday’s issue?  There seems to be more positive news for women where NHS management is concerned: between 60 and 70% of trainees entering the NHS graduate scheme in the past three years have been female[1], and 36%[2]of NHS Chief Executives are women.

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