Understanding the social and political environment
Introductions and Overviews
For the wider picture, NCVO’s Third Sector Foresight (or 3S4) project looked at the factors affecting public policy. It’s been archived now but still contains a lot of useful information.
Revitalise, from the Centre of Charity Effectiveness is a clear and easy to use guide to environmental scanning and includes tools that you can print out and use to help you in your discussions and planning.
The Office for National Statistics contains a huge amount of information about population trends and particular issues affecting society. Their guidance and methodology page is a good place to start.
DSC's Policy Campaigns and Research pages make for interesting and useful reading.
The Guardian’s Society section can be a great source of background reading about a range of social issues; you can sign up to free regular e-mails on their website.
Third Sector magazine highlights stories and issues relevant to the voluntary sector and also sends out regular free mailings.