One year after the election of the Coalition government, Ipsos MORI's latest Understanding Society
explores the implications for local public services. Against the backdrop of the economic crisis, and the climate of uncertainty this has created amongst the public, public spending would have been under pressure whoever had won the election, but this government has set its own quick pace of reform.
Even so, there are many questions that remain unanswered, and in this newsletter we explore some of these, such as in local government and public health, where we can know the overall strategy, but are still to see the full impact on services on the ground. Within these fields, we are also lucky enough to have interviews with two senior Conservative figures, Boris Johnson
, Mayor of London and Stephen Dorrell MP
, chair of the Health Select Committee, who give us their views on the way ahead.
Tying many of the government's reforms together is the Big Society, and we report on recent research that suggests that despite recent media scepticism, there are some people out there who can be encouraged to take on more of a role in their communities, with careful targeting and support. Finally, nor can we allow the economic crisis to overshadow some of the fundamental shifts in society that we will need to confront, and our new Ageing Society team asks just how prepared are we for the challenges set by the growth in the older population.