Informing Policy webinar series
Our Informing Policy webinar series is a space where academics can offer their research expertise and insights to inform policy development on contemporary challenges facing society.
Designed with policy-makers in mind, each webinar focusses on a specific current policy debate, and sees a Cardiff University researcher give a short presentation on what the research tells us, followed by a short response from an external practitioner. This is then followed by a Q&A for attendees under Chatham House rules.
Videos from our recent webinars (without the Q&A sessions) are available to view below.
Water quality in Welsh and English rivers
In this session, chaired by Professor Ian Weeks, Professor Steve Ormerod from the School of Biosciences and Tony Harrington, Director of Environment from Welsh Water, explore the latest evidence that shows significant improvements in the biological quality of Welsh and English rivers over the past three decades, particularly in urban areas recovering from gross organic pollution.
This session also raises important questions about the interpretation of CSO spill data and highlight emerging pollution challenges from pharmaceuticals and plastics. The aim is not to downplay concerns about water quality, but to help policymakers prioritise their efforts and focus on the most pressing issues.
Dr Edward Janes from WISERD investigates the wider spectrum to better support and identify those with problematic responsibilities. Despite young carers featuring in policy for over 25 years, challenges remain concerning how we identify and support a population who often want to remain hidden. This has led to most research being conducted through young carer projects with those most in need of support, resulting in the perception of young carers as a small group with substantial responsibilities. In contrast, Dr Janes’ research focuses on why caring impacts vary for different children depending on their individual experiences.
This session argues that, while the focus of policy should be to support those with greatest need, investigation of the wider population is vital to helping school and health professionals understand the diversity of need and when caring becomes problematic. Expert insight is provided by Dr Tim Bull and Lilli Spires from Carers Trust.
School Health Research Network
Dr Rachel Brown, research fellow at DECIPHer, discusses implementation and evaluation of the Welsh Government’s guidance on the Whole School Approach to Emotional and Mental Wellbeing. This programme aims to support education settings towards implementing data-driven, whole-system approaches with the aim to involve all key stakeholders in creating settings conducive to promoting better mental health and wellbeing through all the day to day actions of the school. This policy has been supported by the data provided through the School Health Research Network (SHRN), a biannual survey of pupil health and wellbeing, run by DECIPHer.
This session will discusses the SHRN data infrastructure for health and wellbeing in Wales, including contributions to partnership working with Public Health Wales.
Poverty and social inclusion
Amanda Hill-Dixon, Senior Research Fellow, and Dan Bristow, Director of Policy and Practice from the Wales Centre for Public Policy, look at poverty and social exclusion. Around 25% of the Welsh population have been living in poverty for the last 20 years, but we don’t yet know how the cost of living crisis is translating into poverty rates. Their research aims to cut through stagnation and deterioration by outlining 'a way forwards' for poverty in Wales with implications for the UK more broadly. This webinar is also joined by Ellie Harwood, Wales Development Manager in the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG). In her role, Ellie specialises in helping schools become more inclusive for children growing up within low-income families.
This session, chaired by Sally Holland, former Children's Commissioner for Wales, will outline key insights from international evidence, quantitative analysis and lived experience evidence about 'what works' to address poverty and social exclusion across 12 key areas, and how an overarching strategy can best be designed and implemented to coordinate and align efforts to affect real change. This work came out of a two-year collaboration between leading poverty experts, including the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at LSE, New Policy Institute, the Bevan Foundation and the Wales Centre for Public Policy.
Free school meals in Wales
Professor Kevin Morgan discusses the Universal Free School Meals scheme in Wales, one of the most ambitious policies that emerged from the Cooperation Agreement between the Welsh Labour Government and Plaid Cymru, and was the commitment to deliver Universal Free School Meals (UFSM) to all primary school children in Wales.
We also hear expert insight from LACA Regional Chair, Judith Gregory. Although this is a highly laudable new policy commitment, it is also a very challenging policy goal when local authorities are already struggling to maintain existing services amidst the twin pressures of tight budgets and the rapidly escalating costs of food and fuel. This presentation will address the various dimensions of the UFSM challenge, focusing in particular on the three most common problems – the infrastructure (kitchens and dining rooms) to accommodate the increased numbers of children, the staffing issue of extra hands or additional hours for existing catering staff, and the procurement of nutritious food.
When Ends Don’t Meet: evaluating policy response to the cost of living crisis
In this session, Cian Siôn from the Wales Governance Centre discusses the topic 'When ends don’t meet: evaluating policy response to the cost of living crisis'. The session sets out the factors driving the latest cost of living squeeze, providing insight into the distributional impact of policies announced by the Welsh and UK governments, and examines the likely effectiveness of these measures in mitigating the impact on household budgets in Wales.
Expert insight and testimony is provided by by Steffan Evans of the Bevan Foundation.
As UK industry seeks Net Zero solutions, this compound semiconductor webinar brings together Professor Max Munday from Cardiff Business School, industry expert Chris Meadows and regional policymaker Peter Davies from Monmouthshire Council to discuss how CS technologies can shape society.
The panel explain how the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster – CSconnected – is helping position Cardiff as the UK and European leader in translational research on compound semiconductor technologies.
The session, chaired by former First Minister Carwyn Jones, sets out how researchers and industry are working together to meet consumer demand by progressing academic research to a point where it can be introduced reliably and quickly into the production environment.
Implementing the Cardiff Model for Violence Prevention in Wales
Professor Jonathan Shepherd CBE discusses The Cardiff Model for Violence Prevention. This is a collaborative public health strategy to prevent violence. It relies on the strategic use of information from health and law enforcement organisations to improve policing and community violence prevention programmes. The model has been implemented widely across England and in cities in the United States, Australia, South Africa, South America and Jamaica.
Professor Shepherd is joined by Jonathan Drake, Director of the Wales Violence Prevention Unit (VPU). The Violence Prevention Unit is a small multi-agency team whose aim is to prevent violence across Wales through taking a public health approach. The VPU undertakes a range of work from directly commissioning services to divert young people away from violence, through to research on what works to prevent different forms of violence.
The Welsh Criminal Justice System: On the Jagged Edge
Professor Richard Wyn Jones and Dr Robert Jones, from the School of Law and Politics, discuss their new book ‘The Welsh Criminal Justice System: On the Jagged Edge’.
In this session, our academics discuss the Welsh criminal justice system and its unique position. Wales has its own devolved Government and Parliament and yet, there is no Welsh equivalent of the Scottish or Northern Irish justice systems.
The extensive responsibilities of Wales's devolved institutions ensure that they necessarily play a significant role in criminal justice. As a result, the Welsh criminal justice system operates across a 'jagged edge' of devolved and reserved powers and responsibilities. This book provides the first academic account of this system. It demonstrates not only that Wales has some of the worst criminal justice outcomes in western Europe, but that even if the will existed to try to address these problems, the current constitutional underpinnings of the Welsh criminal justice system would make it nigh-on impossible. Based on official data and in-depth interviews, this is an urgent and challenging book, required reading for anyone interested in Welsh politics and society.