April Newsletter
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Co-founder Andy Haldane to be joined by high-calibre panel at 10 year anniversary lecture
Pro Bono Economics’ 10 year lecture has officially launched. Following introductory remarks from our Chairman and former Cabinet Secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell, Chief Economist at the Bank of England Andy Haldane will deliver a keynote address on the evening of May 22nd at the Royal Society. He will explore how charities can rise to the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and make the most of the opportunities it holds. Our co-founder will then be joined on stage by Jenny Scott, former host of the BBC’s Daily Politics and a Trustee of Pro Bono Economics, Geoff Mulgan, CEO of NESTA, and Dame Vivian Hunt, Managing Partner at McKinsey UK to discuss the topic further. For further details and registration information please see here.  
Pro Bono Economics calls for Ofsted to prioritise pupil wellbeing at schools during inspections
The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) should assess the quality of education and the environment in which learning takes place, rather than basing its assessments exclusively on performance data in core subjects. This is the argument put forward in the Pro Bono Economics response (see here) to a recent Ofsted consultation (see here) on the subject of its inspection framework, and also explored in our most recent blog post (see here). Our Chairman Lord Gus O’Donnell commented last year that the country risks creating a “troubled generation” of young people because of unnecessary exam pressures. This consultation response seeks to drive home this message by stressing the benefits of school inspections giving more prominence to pupil wellbeing. The exercise has now closed for comment and Pro Bono Economics eagerly awaits details of Ofsted’s new approach, scheduled to go live from September.
Sport benefits attainment, physical and mental health say headteachers
London-based Greenhouse Sports – which uses physical activity to engage young people living in the inner-city – brought together headteachers on March 27th to discuss the benefits on offer from the charity’s programmes. Following our 2017 report showing the effectiveness of Greenhouse’s activities in financial terms (see here), this Annual Headteachers Event offered the chance to hear from those that have benefited the most from what the charity offers. Pro Bono Economics was privileged to be in attendance to listen how participation had in some cases completely transformed the lives of children. Boosting societal wellbeing remains Pro Bono Economics’ core focus. It is therefore always a pleasure to hear testimony of what works in this regard through real-life testimony, considering our ongoing mission to engage with relevant wider debates – such as the Ofsted consultative exercise – wherever possible and in an informed fashion.
Place2Be and Pro Bono Economics celebrate child and adult leaders who support wellbeing in schools
Pro Bono Economics was delighted to be among the judges at the Wellbeing in Schools Awards 2019 on March 26th. The event celebrates people who go above and beyond to support better mental health in schools. Now in their third year, the awards were hosted by children’s mental health charity Place2Be. More information on the winners can be found here, while details on their inspiring background stories are available here. Pro Bono Economics is happy to continue our support of Place2Be’s work, having produced an influential assessment of their early years counselling service last year (see here) and hosted a joint roundtable on wider mental health issues among children and young people in December (see here).
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Pro Bono Economics Colleagues in the Media
April 23rdWith current Bank of England Governor Mark Carney set to step down in 2020, this comment piece from NASDAQ speculates on the runners and riders that may be in the frame to replace him, with Pro Bono Economics co-founder Andy Haldane among them.
April 19th – Chief Economics Correspondent at the Financial Times and Pro Bono Economics Patron Martin Wolf poses the question “What’s wrong with Great Britain” in this short video piece. A lack of political leadership and stagnant living standards feature as two of the six key problems identified.
April 5th – In a comment piece featured in The Guardian, Pro Bono Economics Patron Sir Howard Davies – now Chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland – questions why the US is looking to soften financial regulatory rules at a time when Europe is seemingly moving in the opposite direction.
April 4th – This news piece from Bloomberg cites comments from Vicky Pryce – chief economic adviser at the Centre for Economics and Business Research and Pro Bono Economics Patron – regarding the apparently poor performance of the City of London in regards tackling the gender pay gap.
March 28th – Speaking to CNBC, former Chief Economist at Goldman Sachs and current Pro Bono Economics Patron Lord Jim O’Neill speaks of the limited options that may be available to policymakers as and when the next recession arrives.
Sport England
This new project for Sport England – the organisation responsible for grassroots sport activity – released April 11th highlights the potential for volunteering organisations and programmes to collaborate to create new industry standards. This could include producing a universal definition of volunteering, containing frequency, longevity or experience measures, or a more standardised assessment of the resources needed to support volunteer programmes. Pro Bono Economics would like to thank volunteer Marina Rodes-Sanchez, from the Office of Health Economics, and Economic Associate Dr Mark Graham, who together produced the report for Sport England.
Step Together
This report, published March 25th , shows that the charity Step Together Volunteering’s efforts in engaging with ex-offenders could potentially generate reasonable returns on investment. Using data from around a quarter of the charity’s beneficiaries from 2014-17, the average reoffending rate was shown to be 7%, against 29% in the regions where Step Together Volunteering operates. Considering this, scenario analysis shows a plausible central cost-benefit estimate could be £1: £1.50. Thanks go to Mantas Aleksa, Leath Al-Obaidi, Ben Woodham and Anusree Thome for their work on this report
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