By intervening early in people’s lives, policymakers can more effectively address social and health problems and inequalities. At least, that’s how the story goes. In reality ‘prevention policies’ often go pear-shaped, even with the most political will in the world.

On this week’s podcast, hosts Martyn Pearce and Sue Regan hear from Paul Cairney and Gemma Carey about why policies fail, why that might not always be a bad thing, and how to break the vicious cycle of enthusiasm and disenchantment in policymaking. Listen here:

Paul Cairney is Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the University of Stirling. His research spans comparative public policy, comparisons of policy theories, international policy processes, and comparisons of UK and devolved policymaking.

Gemma Carey is Associate Professor and Research Director of the Centre for Social Impact UNSW and an NHMRC Fellow. She undertakes primary research in governance and policy implementation, with much of her research investigating the processes of ‘joining up’ within government and between government and non-government organisations.

Show notes | The following were referred to in this episode:

Politics & Public Policy – a blog by Paul Cairney

Power to Persuade – a highly regarded symposium that helps build relationships between policymakers, academics and the community sector

Podcast: Getting the measure of global poverty with Caren Grown and Sharon Bessell

Measuring what really matters in global poverty by Sharon Bessell

Downloading firearms by Rod Broadhurst

Policy Forum Pod is available on iTunesSpotifyStitcher, and wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your feedback for this podcast series! Send in your questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes to You can also Tweet us @APPSPolicyForum or find us on Facebook.

This episode of Policy Forum Pod was written and produced by Martyn Pearce and Nicky Lovegrove. It was edited by Martyn Pearce.

To read the transcript of this podcast, click here.

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