291 episodes

David Aaronovitch and a panel of experts and insiders present in-depth explainers on big issues in the news

The Briefing Room BBC Radio 4

    • News
    • 4.8 • 48 Ratings

David Aaronovitch and a panel of experts and insiders present in-depth explainers on big issues in the news

    Russia: State of the Nation

    Russia: State of the Nation

    It is two years since Russia began its costly conflict against Ukraine. How does it fund its war effort, how do sanctions impact that and how tight is Putin's grip on power?
    Guests:
    Sarah Rainsford, BBC Eastern Europe Correspondent
    Maria Shagina, Research Fellow for Economic Sanctions, Standards and Strategy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies
    Isaac Levi, Europe-Russia Policy & Energy Analysis Team Lead at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air
    Mark Galeotti, Writer on Russian security affairs and director of the consultancy Mayak Intelligence
    Production team: Nick Holland, Kirsteen Knight and Ben Carter
    Production Co-ordinator: Gemma Ashman
    Sound engineer: Neil Churchill
    Editor: Richard Vadon

    • 28 min
    The synthetic opioids claiming lives in the UK

    The synthetic opioids claiming lives in the UK

    Deaths from synthetic opioids such as nitazenes and fentanyl are low in the UK but there are fears the problem could escalate and that figures don't show the true picture of the situation.
    David Aaronovitch explores how dangerous these drugs are, why the opioid crisis is so bad in the US, where they come from and why a shortage of heroin in the UK could mean drug cartels switch to supplying these often fatal alternatives.
    Guests:
    Rick Treble, Forensic chemist, and advisor to the Government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.
    Dr Caroline Copeland, Director of the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths
    Alex Steven, Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Kent
    Sam Quinones, journalist and author of 'Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic'
    Production team: Nick Holland, Kirsteen Knight and Charlotte McDonald
    Production Co-ordinator: Gemma Ashman
    Sound engineer: Rod Farquhar
    Editor: Penny Murphy

    • 28 min
    The crisis in dentistry: why is it happening and what should we do about it?

    The crisis in dentistry: why is it happening and what should we do about it?

    This week a great queue of dentistless Bristolians appeared outside a new practice offering NHS treatment.
    That followed a report on children’s health which specifically referenced the poor and worsening state of their teeth.
    This week the government announced a package to try and improve things in England. But did it go anything like far enough to solve the problems of too few dentists being willing or able to treat NHS patients?
    David Aaronovitch is joined by the following experts:
    Beccy Baird, Senior Fellow, the King’s Fund
    Ian Mills, Dentist and Associate Professor of Primary Care Dentistry at the Peninsula Dental School in Plymouth
    Thea Stein, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust
    Professor Claire Stevens CBE, Spokesperson, British Society of Paediatric Dentistry
    Production team: Nick Holland, Kirsteen Knight and Charlotte McDonald
    Production Co-ordinator: Gemma Ashman
    Sound: James Beard
    Editor: Richard Vadon

    • 29 min
    What’s the point of Ofsted?

    What’s the point of Ofsted?

    This week the Education Select Committee said that Ofsted and the Government must rebuild trust and make major changes to school inspections.
    This follows months of news coverage of the death of Ruth Perry, the headteacher who killed herself following an Ofsted inspection at her primary school. The coroner ruled that it contributed to her death.
    This week we ask - what’s the point of Ofsted?
    David is joined by the following experts:
    Sam Freedman, senior fellow at the Institute for Government
    John Jerrim, Professor of Education and Social Statistics, at UCL
    Carole Willis, Chief Executive, National Foundation for Educational Research
    Colin Diamond, Professor of Educational Leadership, University of Birmingham
    Production team: Nick Holland, Kirsteen Knight and Charlotte McDonald
    Production Co-ordinator: Gemma Ashman
    Sound: Hal Haines and Neil Churchill
    Editor: Richard Vadon

    • 28 min
    Is the UK prepared for more floods?

    Is the UK prepared for more floods?

    The UK is experiencing more rain and more floods than previously, and because of climate change this is set to get worse. More than 6 million homes are at risk of flooding in the UK.
    What is the state of the country’s flood defences? Can people get insurance? What can we do to prepare for a wetter future?
    David Aaronovitch is joined by the following experts:
    Louise Slater, Professor of Hydroclimatology at the University of Oxford
    Edmund Penning-Rowsell, Research Associate at Oxford University Centre for the Environment
    Hannah Cloke, Professor of Hydrology at the University of Reading
    Steven Forrest, Lecturer in Flood Resilience and Sustainable Transformations, Hull University
    Production team: Nick Holland, Kirsteen Knight and Charlotte McDonald
    Production Co-ordinator: Sophie Hill and Katie Morrison
    Sound: Neil Churchill
    Editor: Richard Vadon

    • 28 min
    Why is local government in such trouble?

    Why is local government in such trouble?

    It’s been another difficult week for local government. Birmingham City Council announced it needs to make up to 600 redundancies to help balance its books and Middlesbrough Council decided to apply to the Government for £15m of emergency funding to avoid effective bankruptcy. Also this week new figures have been released showing just how much debt some local authorities hold. And it’s a lot.
    Since 2021 there have been six councils which have declared themselves effectively bankrupt. Given the responsibilities of local government that feels serious for many of us.
    So what are the financial pressures facing councils and why?
    David Aaronovitch is joined by the following experts:
    Aileen Murphie, specialist adviser to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities select committee and former National Audit Office Director
    Tony Travers, visiting Professor at the LSE’s Department of Government
    Kate Ogden, Senior Research Economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    Production team: Nick Holland, Kirsteen Knight and Charlotte McDonald
    Production Co-ordinators: Sophie Hill
    Sound: Andy Fell
    Editor: Richard Vadon

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
48 Ratings

48 Ratings

phxroy ,

Excellent!

Terrific, quick primer on the topic, leaving you with an informed, working knowledge. I always look forward the podcast when I see it in my feed, as I know from several years consistent listening that it’s excellent! (A show on COVID in last six months left me with more nuanced information than I had learned elsewhere.)

avm1406 ,

5 stars

Outstanding. From diversity of topics to the unique format that moves from one expert providing the in-depth backstory to an engaging dialogue with a panel. Always learn something new even on widely reported stories.

AdiKharo ,

Brilliant

You end the podcast knowing more than when you started it. And you are engrossed in the topic along the way. Brilliant. Great topics, great interviewer, great guests.

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