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This chapter examines the engagement of social work academics in the policy process in Spain. It begins by presenting an overview of social policy in Spain, particularly in the post-Franco era, and by discussing the emergence of the social work profession in that country. The development of social work education in Spain and its contemporary features are then depicted. Following these, the methodology and the findings of a study of the policy engagement of social work academics in Spain are presented. The findings relate to the levels of engagement in policy and the forms that this takes. The study also offers insights into various factors that are associated with these, such as perceptions, capabilities, institutional support and the accessibility of the policy process. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the findings and their implications.

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This chapter describes health inequalities based on income, rather than explicitly race, in Chile and Uruguay. In these countries non-governmental organizations (NGOs) seeking to improve the health of the poor have historically had to work in direct opposition to the political power of repressive regimes. Today, both these countries are democratic, but healthcare for the poor still depends more on civil society than on governments.

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This chapter analyses the role that parents play in order to protect their children against the risks and harm they may encounter while using the internet. Parental mediation strategies are examined and classified attending to the different ways of communication established between parents and children. Besides these strategies, parents and children’s personal characteristics (such as gender, age and socio-economic status, SES) are taken into account in order to see whether such characteristics affect the type of risks and harm suffered by minors when they surf on the internet (sexual content, bullying and contact with strangers).

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A Revolution in Portugal and a democratic transition in Spain marked the end of the Iberian dictatorships in the 1970s. In this article, the results from research focused on the repercussions of contestatory movements for the social work profession in Portugal and Spain during that decade are presented. The information gathered from literature and oral sources allows perceiving the changes endured by social work in both countries, its professional disputes and the impact of the Latin American Reconceptualisation Movement. Special attention will be devoted to the influence of this social work movement, considering the specific socio-historical contexts of Portugal and Spain, and its particular professional backgrounds.

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Verity-Fee, Phoenix, Iris and Angel are white, working-class women who are, or who have been, locked out of sight from society in a women’s prison in England. They are just four of the women we have had the privilege of collaborating with over the past five years as part of the work we do delivering a prison education programme called the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Programme1. Our collaborative work and writing in this book is organised into two connected chapters. Chapter 6 is about context. Drawing on our experiences of writing, teaching and learning with women in prison, this chapter outlines the prison-based teaching programme that brought us together and explores our theoretical and conceptual approach. Much of our thinking about the punishment of women and prisons is born out of our many conversations with incarcerated women who have taken part in classes or with whom we have worked over the years. In Chapter 7, we go on to provide a critical reflection of our varied epistemologies on the imprisonment of women. We make no excuses for writing in an emotive way, and, in places, exposing our ‘uncomfortable’ and contradictory perspectives. On the contrary – this is first and foremost a feminist project and as such we celebrate subjectivity and individual experience (Reinharz, 1992), which are particularly impossible to ignore in a prison environment (Liebling, 1999). Chapter 7, is also co-authored with Verity-Fee, Phoenix, Iris and Angel but their names appear before ours in the authorship order, partly because their writings and prison journeys take centre stage.

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Four incarcerated women were involved in the project. They are each strong, kind and thoughtful and, like all of us, have flaws (Fine and Torre, 2006). After several years delivering prison education and working within the prison estate, we have learned not to judge or romanticise the women we work with. We understand that some people detained in prison have committed serious crimes. However, we approach our work with a strong sense of humanity, of seeing the humanity in all of us. We also approach our work from the standpoint that people, no matter who they are, should not be defined by the worst thing they have done in their lives. The Inside-Out programme focuses on mutual engagement, learning through dialogue and critical thinking. Inside-Out does not ‘research’ or objectify the inside students who participate in the programme and does not scrutinise their individual offences. All students are known only by a first name or chosen nickname and past offences – of inside or, for that matter, outside students – are not known to the class. Similarly, the Inside-Out Think Tank members that we write with here are serving diverse sentences for diverse offences, but the specifics of those offences are unimportant and not the focus of our work together.

Through a process of working and writing together, the women originally wrote their contributions as part of the ‘World Split Open’ creative writing project discussed in Chapter 6. However, we have continued to work together since, and during that time have been privy to their experiences within, journeys through, and for one of the women, out of the prison system.

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Background:

There has been a rapid increase in the number of, and demand for, organisations offering behavioural science advice to government over the last ten years. Yet we know little of the state of science and the experiences of these evidence providers.

Aims and objectives:

To identify current practice in this emerging field and the factors that impact on the production of high-quality and policy-relevant research.

Methods:

A qualitative study using one-to-one interviews with representatives from a purposeful sample of 15 units in the vanguard of international behavioural science research in policy. The data were analysed thematically.

Findings:

Relationships with policymakers were important in the inception of units, research conduct, implementation and dissemination of findings. Knowledge exchange facilitated a shared understanding of policy issues/context, and of behavioural science. Sufficient funding was crucial to maintain critical capacity in the units’ workforces, build a research portfolio beneficial to policymakers and the units, and to ensure full and transparent dissemination.

Discussion and conclusion:

Findings highlight the positive impact of strong evidence-provider/user relationships and the importance of governments’ commitment to co-produced research programmes to address policy problems and transparency in the dissemination of methods and findings. From the findings we have created a framework, ‘STEPS’ (Sharing, Transparency, Engagement, Partnership, Strong relationships), of five recommendations for units working with policymakers. These findings will be of value to all researchers conducting research on behalf of government.

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