Survivor’s top ten

Have you have fallen out of love with the world over the last few weeks? Get. In. Line. Each month we’ll be sending you a top ten for surviving work, reminding you that people can be clever, funny and  really quite curious. We’ll be wading through the tinternet for you and pulling out the genuinely genius. If we get really good at this we may save you from reading anything ever again.

This month we have mainly been reading the following.

1. Those Danes. It’s not just their television series that are cool, it’s also their public services. Here Christian Bason, Director of MindLab (a government innovation unit that seeks to create new solutions for public services) outlines how ‘Empathy is the New Black’. He says: “the professional ability to put oneself in the citizen’s place is a central component in several recent successful efforts to modernise the Danish public sector”.

2. If it is the case that economic growth is the thing that’s going to get us out of this mess, we are going to need lots of successful entrepreneurs. This post discusses recent research that found that the characteristics that make for business success also apply to troubled teenagers. So is that annoyingly loud youngster on the bus next to you a future business leader?

3. Another week, another story of how private companies delivering NHS services are not providing the best quality of care for patients. The National Audit Office has published a report on Serco failing to meet out-of-hours GP service requirements. The report outlines how Serco staff falsified data 252 times in the first six months of last year on how many staff were available to take calls.

4. Yvette Cooper’s speech at IPPR on immigration was interesting in linking to low paid work. One point she made really stood out: “There hasn’t been a single prosecution for failing to pay the minimum wage in the last two years”

5. Though it would be satisfying to blame the current government, in fact only 8 prosecutions have ever taken place. The Labour government felt that prosecutions were hard work for all concerned and instead brought in a system of penalties so that employees who felt they had been underpaid could claim arrears. This fact check shows that “in the 2010/11 financial year, 937 cases saw a penalty imposed, totalling over £560,000″.

6. Personal stories are important and sometimes one really stands out. This piece documents the author’s period of homelessness: “Poverty is another country. You have either lived there or you have not.”

7. And another personal story but this time a joyous one. This post on what it feels like to be ‘out the other side’ of something, in this case being officially post-menopausal.

8. Cost of housing benefit, and the bedroom tax, has been much in the news. But this post looks at the role that social housing had on social mobility in the past. And how new investment in it is desperately needed if that role is to continue.

9. This is just a genuinely good idea about linking skills to jobs, online, cheap and local 

10. For all those who spend mornings running for a train, this blog may be of interest. It outlines how all the clocks at Grand Central Station are permanently wrong. And this isn’t inefficiency but deliberately to try and keep stressed passenger incidents to a minimum. That’s deep, space and time.

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