Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Junior Doctors Strike - what is going on?

Try our free resources on the Junior Doctor's strike.

New resources.
BBC coverage
Includes an explanation. 
The Sun - focuses upon the luxury lifestyles of junior doctors  
Daily Mail focuses upon cancelled operations
Telegraph refers to the naivety of junior doctors.
Guardian considers is it justified?
Mirror front page refers to Jeremy Hunt blood on his hands 
Daily Express Doctor's union risking your life
FT a strike too far.

UK Government website contains official letters and documents representing the government perspective. 
Includes Jeremy Hunt's statement to parliament on the possible impact of the strike. and the contract
NHS employers - resources for NHS management
Full fact analysis- Full fact is a independent organisation which checks facts
 Reactions to the strike
BMA viewpoint - the BMA doctor's union has statements and news updates.
There is also a one profession website which is focussing specifically on the strike.
Letter from Labour Party to Jeremy Hunt
Royal College of physicians website has some comments  
Latest on the eve of the strike 
Royal College of Emergency Medicine 
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 
Royal College of General Practitioners 
Royal College of Anaesthetists 
Hospital Consultants Association

UNISON - trade union support for the strike
National Health Action Party opinion 

Discussion from Think tanks major publications.
New Statesman
Nuffield Trust blog posting on the history of the dispute.
Economist Blog
Adam Smith Institute

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

School places - is the allocation fair?

This week primary school place offers were made.
Some commentators have stated that the allocation is unfair. Use  these academic resources to find out more.
a Good introduction to the method of allocating places which has links to relevant official documents. Is this House of Commons Library Briefing paper
UK government website provides facts on the admissions process . It also provides official data on school admissions and place allocation by local area.
The Office of School Adjudicator has information on appeals to admissions decisions
London Councils administer allocation schemes . There website has several reports on the pressure on school places in the capital

In 2016 Labour Party analysis argued that 1 in 4 schools was oversubscribed.
For further data and reports on this see the Local Government Association website 
and London Councils which has published reports with data for primary and secondary schools.
Teach First stated that 'The poorest families are four times more likely to have to send their child to a primary school which requires improvement or is inadequate compared to the wealthiest families'.
A recent briefing by the Sutton Trust -Caught Out also considers socioeconomic background and school intake it calls for a closer examination of social mix in schools.
This is echoed by RISE: the campaign for Research and information on State Education. also calls for more balanced intake to schools.

for further academic discussion see the Conversation.
NFER on the web has links to recent reports and is great for current awareness

Friday, 15 April 2016

Social science sites of the week

Get the facts on its contribution to UK manufacturing, employment and trends in production.

Guardian Newspaper  launch campaign against Internet abuse and harassment

They have also released some initial analysis of comments posted and blocked on their website. This reveals  more abusive comments were blocked about articles written by women. As a result the site is leading a discussion on what can improve social relations on the Internet.
Here are some other useful sources measuring the extent and nature of online abuse.
In 2015 the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development issued a report calling for a world-wide wake up call against cyberviolence targeting women and girls.
In England/ Wales Official figures on negative online experiences are gathered by the Office for National Statistics and published as a supplementary table they record online harassment by gender. In 2014 Demos published an interesting report on the extent and nature of misogyny on Twitter
Reports on cyberstalking and Cyberbullying in the USA can be retrieved from this special feature on the NCRJC website. and WAM has some resources concerning harassment, women and twitter.

Which graduates earn the most? Do family, class and Gender matter?
New from IFS an analysis of 260,000 student tax and loan records which examines variations in earnings over a 10 year period after graduation . It considers whether gender, socioeconomic class, institution and subject studied effect income. A key conclusion is that
p.55 Graduates from higher income households earn more (up to around 60%
more for males and 45% for females) than their peers from lower income households.
There were also shocking  large variations by institution
‘For instance, more than 10% of male graduates from LSE, Oxford and Cambridge were earning in excess of £100,000 a year ten years after graduation in 2012/13, with LSE graduates earning the most. LSE was the only institution with more than 10% of its female graduates earning in excess of £100,000 a year ten years on . Whereas the median male graduate earnings were nearer £45,000

New EU referendum reports this week
This week IFS launch an interactive tool to allow voters to explore the EU budget which countries pay in the most? Who gets the most?
The Electoral Commission designated the two lead campaigners at the EU Referendum – designating ‘The In Campaign Ltd’ to be the lead campaigner for the “Remain” outcome, and ‘Vote Leave Ltd’ for the “Leave” outcome. Its decision , with associated papers can be downloaded from the website.
LSE launches EU referendum videos on its YouTube channel. The 10-week video series (starting 13th April) will feature daily  expert comment from the School’s academics on a wide range of issues relating to the EU referendum on 23 June.

Million pound homes – get the facts!
According to some data releases from the Office for National Statistics. 13,679 was the number of properties sold for £1million or more in England and Wales, in the year ending September 2015. In 1996 it was 270 . Get the full data set   House price statistics for all areas from 1995-2015 and Test your knowledge in the million pound properties quiz!
A report by the LSE and Santander has predicted that by 2030 1 in 4 London homes will be valued at £1milion or more.
In terms of affordability . In 2015 Shelter published a report that from 1969-2014, house prices for first time buyers had increased by 48 times, whereas incomes had risen 29 times. the London Data store has information on  house price ratios to salary in London Boroughs.   Recently the Centre for London also issued a report on Housing and inequality in the capital which shows rising housing costs (both in the rented and mortgage sector)  causing greater wealth disparity.and a move to the suburbs for poorer people. Shelter has also issued a tube map of affordability of rented housing in London stating that of 270 stations only 15 are in affordable renting areas.
Use the BBC tracker tool to find out where you can afford to live

Fairness for Children: a league table of inequality in child well-being in rich countries
The latest report card from UNICEF examines the condition of children in  the EU and wealthy OECD nations. It focuses on the gap between rich and poor in four areas: income, education, health and life satisfaction
Key policy concerns include:
 Protect the incomes of households with the poorest children.
• Improve the educational achievements of disadvantaged learners.
• Promote and support healthy lifestyles for all children.
• Take subjective well-being seriously.
• Place equity at the heart of child well-being agendas. 
See the UK ranking. UNICEF concluded that the gap between rich and poor had narrowed .
Denmark was ranked first in the report's findings. Britain 1. There were concerns in gaps about educational performance, and health eating where the uK was rated lowly.

Another key report published this week relating to Child wellbeing was
CentreForum Commission on children and young people’s mental health. It revealed the problems young people face when trying to access mental health care.

Hansard Society Audit of Political Engagement released.
The 13th annual edition of this key publication  has just been published. It is based on is based on an opinion poll conducted by Ipsos MORI between 11 and 29 December 2015 with a representative quota sample of adults aged 18+ across Great Britain measuring factors associated with interest in and engagement in politics amongst voters. Topics covered include interest in EU and certainty to vote in the referendum, perception of parliament and levels of participation.

Data USA
A great new site which visualizes American government Data. It is developed by Deloitte, Datawheel, and Cesar Hidalgo, Professor at the MIT Media Lab with the aim of making statistical data visible and accessible.
View maps or profiles  by location, occupation and industry and education . The site also has visual stories created by users. See for instance this one on the skills required for an economics degree. Which also has data on gender, racial composition of award holders, geographic concentration in the USA and pay!

Trussell Trust Food Bank data visualization.
The Trussell Trust has worked with data scientists, business model specialists and academics from the University of Hull and the commercial sector to create the UK’s first ever dynamic visualisation tool for crises leading to foodbank use, mapping 18 months of foodbank data against deprivation indices from the 2011 census and other open data. See the mapping hunger report

How to choose a world Leader
This week the United Nations held its first public debates to select a new secretary general. This press release explains the process. Further detail is on the UN website .  UN webTV has recordings.
There is also a twitter feed where you can see questions submitted.
1 for 7 Billion is a global campaign supported by organisations and individuals from all corners of the globe committed to getting the best UN Secretary-General. see its discussion of the process and its 10 urgent reforms.        

Finally find a remedy for your hayfever!
Digital archive of Druggist and Chemist
A fascinating digital journal archive project completed by the Wellcome Library and available on the Internet Archive.  The Chemist and Druggist is weekly journal of the pharmacy trade, the online issues cover over 150 years from the 1850s. As well as  constituting a fascinating  resource on the history of medicine and pharmacy; Social historians can browse original advertisements for patent medicines, medical products and more.  See this example from May 1889 which features on the front page an advertisement for Royal embrocation- I was not sure if this was for the horse or the rider to rub in!  Read more about the digitisation project on their blog.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

What is wrong with British Steel industry?- get the academic facts

The recent announcement by Tata Steel that it intends to sell its Uk operation has provoked much media coverage. But what are the wider implications? what is the state of the British steel industry?
Get the facts with our quick academic links.

BBC website  has a summary of the issues which serves as a good introduction.
For a more detailed analysis which also has links to appropriate government documents try this briefing paper from the House of Commons Library which was published at the end of March.

Key facts

Contribution of Steel to the UK economy
House of Commons paper gives the figure - 1% of  manufacturing output in 2014 a decline of 24% since 1990.
  EEF has regular reports on the state of the industry the annual review 2015 reported that in 2015 production levels reduced by 9% with further declines predicted for 2016. Proposals are made about ways in which the industry could be supported.These include a review of the EU trading emissions scheme
UK Tradeinfo maintained by the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)  publishes and hosts UK trade statistics data.You can build a table of exports in types of Steel and compare with other manufacturing

 The House of Commons Library paper recorded 34,500 people employed in the steel industry in 2014 of which 54% are based in Yorkshire, Humberside or Wales. In the 2012 Welsh Economic review the Welsh Economy research Unit of Cardiff University estimated that comprised around 8% of all welsh industrial output in 2010 and 3% of total Welsh Gross added value, larger than any other private sector employer

 The decline in trends since 1993 can be clearly seen on the EEF website

World Steel Production 
The World Steel Association produces an annual statistical yearbook which charts the rise of China and decline of UK as a steel manufacturer. Editions from 1978 onwards can be downloaded from its website.In 2015 it recorded that China's share of world crude steel production was 49.5% 
Comtrade UN Trade commodities database enables calculation of value of trade in specific products for nations 

Keeping up to date with Policy
Recent statements from the UK government are published on the publications section of Uk.gov website.
See for instance this statement by Business Secretary Sajid Javid on the steel sector. 11th April 2016
Parliamentary debates and committee business can be viewed via the UK Parliament website . Older reports can be viewed on the BIS committee website. See the UK steel Industry Inquiry report published in December 2015 which predicted looming problems.
See also the Welsh Assembly website for recent debates and discussion of the situation in Wales.
The Welsh Government has set up a high level Tata Task force to consider the implications.

Commentary on industrial policy
IPPR paper on how to boost manufacturing industries.
CBI comment
EEF comment
GMB union
and USW union
British Chambers of Commerce
Labour Party policy

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Researching the Easter uprising- good starting points for students

Researching the Easter uprising- good starting points for students

2016 is the centenary of the Easter uprising.

BBC history has a good introductory timeline to events.This is an archived website but has the key facts.It also has archived sections of newspaper headlines.
 Easter1916.ie Digital Media at Griffith College Dublin.is a great site designed for schools and students with day by day coverage of events and witness statements from primary source collections. There is a  school resource section.
Queens University Belfast Irish History Live has a discussion of the Easter uprising, its history, interpretation and impact.

Primary sources
National Library of Ireland  digital collections related to the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation. These include biographies, photographs and original letters.The library also has a listing of available resources on its catalogue
Letters of 1916- interesting crowdsourced project lead by University of Maynooth. It is transcribing a collection of letters written around the time of the Easter Rising (1 November 1915 – 31 October 1916) held in institutions and private collections to give a flavour of life at this time. Browse some examples. by date or theme
BBCVoices16. Northern Ireland explores the history through voices from the time with digitised letters and accounts.

Changed Utterly - Ireland and the Easter Rising. the Library of Trinity College Dublin's research collections relating to the 1916 Easter Rising, through a regular series of blog posts.which links to archival materials
Guides to further research
UK National Archives has information on the key primary source materials (government reports and papers available).

Centenary websites.
Irish government website with programme of events.
UK Web archive 2016 Easter Rising project
The Library of Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, the Bodleian Library, Oxford and the British Library are undertaking a collaborative project to identify, collect, and archive, websites that can contribute to an understanding of the causes, course, and consequences of the Easter Rising, 1916

Easter 2016: RTE Archives Archival material relating to the 50th anniversary of the Rising from Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland's national broadcaster. It includes oral histories and audiovisual materials
Irish Times centenary project includes original archive footage as well as current news stories

Panama Papers: tax avoidance get the facts

In the news this week tax avoidance scandals surrounding the Panama papers .
But what are they? and what does it mean?
Get the facts with our recommended academic resources
The Guardian is a good starting point with a simple briefing
View the video explainer - how to hide a million dollars. or the full newspaper coverage

This has key data  with a methodology 
sign up to an email guide to the key players.

Mossack Fonesca official statement.

Key commentary 

Tax Justice Network website has news and reports on all tax havens and non-payment of taxes worldwide. See its reaction
Its Financial Secrecy Index ranks jurisdictions according to their secrecy and scale of offshore financial operations. in 2015 UK was ranked 15. It states that if British Crown dependencies were classed together Britain would be top of the list

Transparency International - also works to expose tax avoidance internationally.
See recent publications.  They include reports on UK overseas territories. and this week issued a report on 

what should be done to end the UK's role as a tax haven for the rich and corrupt!

OECD Reaction to the Panama Papers . The OECD has a Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes this website has details of recent initiatives.
Oxfam report -
The IFC and Tax Havens: The need to support more responsible corporate tax behaviour
Report on US corporations

UK Government
HMRC strategy on tackling international tax avoidance. from multinationals.
Offshore evasion consultation - closed December 2015
Jeremy Corbyn criticism of government policy

LSE staff / student access to OECD Ilibrary tax materials.
This enables full text access to reviews of specific nations

Social policy reports this week

The Home Builders Federation has published a blueprint on housing supply in London Capitalising on Growth