The Public Realm Lecture Series: Anna Coote

8th Nov 2011, 5:30pm - 8:30pm

Edge Hill University

The Public Realm Lecture Series: Anna Coote

The Centre for Local Policy Studies continues a major series of open lectures on the theme of the Public Realm with a talk by Anna Coote, Head of Social Policy at the New Economics Foundation.

The lecture is titled ‘Moving Upstream: The Triple Prize of Preventative Government’ and takes place on Tuesday 8th November 2011 at the Ormskirk Campus.

Anna will explore the case for upstream intervention to prevent harm across society, environment and the economy, identifying common themes as well as differences. She will argue that intervening early to prevent harm has three major advantages:

  • Improves human well-being and quality of life, and helps to build resilience;
  • Safeguards public resources for dealing with unavoidable risks and promoting positive benefits;
  • Reduces the need for heavy-handed government intervention to treat or cure ‘downstream’, avoidable ill-being, damage and dysfunction.

Preventative government can thus be understood not as needless, interfering nannying, but as a liberating force and an essential feature of sustainable development.

The Public Realm

The existence of a public realm may be seen as the expression of a common ‘good’, the basis of a shared relationship between citizens. It is a recognition that there are areas of life that are not and should not be controlled by private interests.

We are entering a period where the boundaries of public and private are once again shifting. Distinctions between public and private have become increasingly blurred under successive governments since the 1980s and the pattern of debate, as the coalition government addresses the recession, can be seen as portraying ‘private’ as good and ‘public’ as bad. Yet many of the challenges that we face both nationally and globally evoke the public realm and its importance. The challenges of climate change, the digital and globalised economy, the crises in the banking system, the future of the welfare state all raise questions about the public realm, its scope and the way it is governed.

To explore these issues the Centre for Local Policy Studies has initiated a series of public lectures and debates on the Public Realm, its meaning and its future.

Anna Coote

Anna Coote, is a leading analyst, writer and advocate in the fields of public health, welfare reform, sustainable development, public services, inequality, gender, democracy and participation.

Responsible for groundbreaking work on health and sustainable development as Commissioner for Health with the UK Sustainable Development Commission (2000-2009), she led the Healthcare Commission’s work on engaging patients and the public (2005-2008) and was Director of Health Policy at the King’s Fund (1998-2004). 

Anna is now Head of Social Policy at the New Economics Foundation, an independent organisation that aims to improve quality of life by promoting ideas that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environment and social issues.


  • 5.30pm – Arrival and drinks with canapés
  • 6.30pm – Public lecture commences
  • 7.30pm – Refreshments and networking

Book Your Place

Anna Coote’s public lecture is free to attend and spaces are limited. To book your place, email