Stories include unfit royal housing benefit property, claims that food poverty is a bigger public health concern than diet, how the sale of small council homes condemned thousands to the bedroom tax, and an equality analysis of the planned closure of the Independent Living Fund.
In this post, originally published on Immigration and Services, Ajmeri Walele looks at the facts around immigration.
Since 1945, immigration in the United Kingdom has increased, in particular from the Republic of Ireland, but also from former colonies of the British Empire such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Hong Kong and the Caribbean.
The latest data (PDF), gathered in December 2012, shows: Continue reading In just 5 minutes you’ll know more about UK immigration than most of the public
Kayleigh Garthwaite is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geography at Durham University – and the author of the eye-opening blog post The ‘scrounger’ myth is causing real suffering to many in society,
In this Q&A Kayleigh gives her tips on blogging about benefits and talks further about the myths surrounding welfare.
What advice would you give to people who are just getting into blogging about welfare?
It’s important to try to keep as up to date as possible with changes to welfare as it’s a constantly evolving process. Continue reading Destroying the Myth: Kayleigh Garthwaite’s tips for welfare bloggers
We’ve compiled a list of 25 useful Twitter accounts if you want to follow welfare reform. Yesterday we revealed the first 10 – here are the other 15…
11.Samuel Miller @Hephaestus7
Disability specialist Samuel Miller is taking the government to court in The Hague over possible crimes to humanity.
12. Real Life Reform @RealLifeReform
This northern housing consortium is running an eighteen month study tracking how people are living and coping with welfare reform across the north of England from April 2013 to October 2014. Real Life Reform are bringing together case studies of social housing tenants to capture not only the financial but also the human impact. Continue reading 25 Twitter accounts to follow in 2014 on welfare reform – numbers 11-25
We’ve compiled a list of 25 useful Twitter accounts if you want to follow welfare reform. In this post we reveal the first 10…
- Follow them all – and over 40 others – as a list here.
- How we did it: finding Twitter accounts to follow
1. Joseph Rowntree Fdn. @jrf_uk, @Helen_Barnard
— Helen Barnard (@Helen_Barnard) January 24, 2014
Helen Barnard is Research Programme Manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), the social research policy charity of Quaker origins.
The JRF conducts a range of research into welfare issues, and created the MIS, the Minimum Income Standard, estimating what is an adequate income based on what the public believe to be minimum living standards.
2. ResolutionFoundation @resfoundation
Look out for the launch of their study The State of Living Standards 2014 on February 11th. Continue reading 25 Twitter accounts to follow in 2014 on welfare reform – the first 10
We’ve been compiling a list of people on Twitter to follow on welfare-related issues. Here’s how we did it:
(If you need to know how to create a Twitter list, see Twitter’s guide)
1. Search Twitter biographies only
The quickest way to kick off your Twitter list is to search Twitter biographies for users who mention the areas you’re interested in.
Twitter tool FollowerWonk has a facility for searching biographies on the site – make sure you select “search Twitter bios only” from the drop-down menu.
Try a range of terms: ‘welfare’ is normally used by those in official positions (or ‘social security’ in the US); ‘housing’ is a more specific term, as is ‘homeless’ or ‘homelessness’, ‘poverty’ and even ‘social’ (as in ‘social inclusion’).
You might want to look for users who mention an interest in specific issues like ‘bedroom tax’ or ‘workfare’, too, or organisations like Atos, A4e, and DWP.
For search methods and similar tools read this post on Search Engine People.
2. Browse Twitter directories
There are a number of directories for Twitter users. WeFollow works well with a general search for welfare but adding location seems to exclude a lot of relevant results.
Twellow allows you to narrow down to the United Kingdom, and particular cities, which helps exclude US results, but there doesn’t appear to be a way to use keywords and location together.
There are categories but these are very US-centric – so, no welfare or benefits, and the categories for ‘low cost housing’ and ‘affordable housing‘ bring up too many irrelevant results.
If you find a more effective directory please let us know!
3. Find related lists
It’s likely that someone else has already created a Twitter list covering the same or a related area. One way to find these is to look at the users you’ve already found and see what lists they’ve been added to.
You can find these by going to the Twitter user’s profile page and clicking on Lists to the left and then selecting Member of in the middle. The resulting URL should look like this:
…but with the username instead of USERNAME. Shiv Malik‘s list memberships, for example can be found at https://twitter.com/shivmalik1/memberships
You can also try to search Twitter lists. However, a number of tools that used to allow you to search these are no longer operating, so you’ll have to resort to some clever use of Google.
Try the following search:
…and replace YOURKEYWORD with what you’re looking for (note that there is no space after the colon).
For example, with the keyword welfare it would look like this:
Sadly that only produces one result, because the list has to be called ‘welfare’ exactly – so this list wouldn’t match the search.
You can try omitting the “lists” part and using wildcards (asterisks) around your key term instead:
Or try broadening the search to something like this (replacing the phrase with your own):
site:twitter.com/*/lists/ "bedroom tax"
This will bring back any list pages where one of the tweets mentions that term. Obviously this depends on what people are tweeting about at that moment in time.
4. Search discussions and hashtags
As you start to follow people in your field, you’ll come across some terms and hashtags repeatedly. In welfare for example people will be talking about the bedroom tax, welfare reform, universal credit, housing, benefits, and other issues.
You can search for these on Twitter itself, or use Google with the phrase site:twitter.com (note no space after the colon) which limits results to Twitter.
Make sure you use quotes to get exact phrases only – e.g. “bedroom tax” will ensure you don’t get results that mention both words in separate places.
You can also try prefixing general terms with ‘uk’ – #ukhousing, for example, is often used by those within the UK housing industry to distinguish their discussions from those elsewhere.
After your initial search it’s worth trying again occasionally – you can set up regular updates for a search using Twitter tools like Tweetdeck.
You can also use a tool like Hashtagify.me to find hashtags related to ones you already know.
5. Following followers
Finally, look at the people you’ve already found and who they’re following and listing.
When you’re logged in to the Twitter website it normally shows a box on each profile page showing ‘similar accounts’, but clicking on ‘Following’ and ‘Followers’ will give you more suggestions – or you can just add those words to the Twitter account URL: a list of accounts that Patrick Butler is following can be found at https://twitter.com/patrickjbutler/following, for example
Do you have any other tips on finding relevant Twitter accounts to follow? Please let us know in the comments on @hmiwelfare
In the first part of this series I looked at bringing general news sources and blogs into one place; in the second I looked at social media discussions. This final part looks at how to know what government departments are saying and doing, even if no one is reporting it.
Data and documents provide some of the most useful leads for reporting: they tell you what the government is doing, and what it is being forced to reveal.
It’s important to understand that much of the information revealed by official government websites are the result of scrutiny by opposition politicians and Freedom of Information requests. This is how to find out when they do. Continue reading How to keep track of welfare issues part 3: data and documents
In the first part of this series we looked at bringing general news sources and blogs into one place. In this part we look to another important source: social media discussions.
Social media discussions contain three types of information: news updates you haven’t seen elsewhere; expertise (analysis and insights, for example); and personal experience (case studies).
Here’s how to add them to your Netvibes dashboard:
Context, analysis and case studies: social media discussion
If you haven’t read Part 1, go here and read it now – it contains instructions on how to get started with Netvibes you’ll need to follow first.
Done? OK. That post mentioned the Netvibes ‘Essentials’ menu a couple of times – another option there is the Twitter search.
This is useful for bringing social media discussions into your netvibes feeds.
The key thing here is to keep the search specific by using quotation marks – or by using hashtags. Continue reading How to keep track of welfare issues part 2: case studies and context
The Department for Work and Pensions statistics site Stat-Xplore will publish data on sanctions for the first time next month Continue reading Benefit sanctions data to be released for first time on DWP stats site