Research and Consultancy

One of the primary aims of the Centre for Social Policy is to generate knowledge and evidence to inform policy formation and implementation. It brings together the researchers from across the University in areas of public management, health, education, criminal justice and the broad social sciences.

Public Services at the University has a strong record of research which was identified as ‘internationally excellent’ in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. Our work is of an applied nature and is directly relevant to the improvement of public services.

Colleagues are currently working on a number of projects including a review of the stakeholder model of public service boards, an assessment of public service outcomes across key service areas, public engagement in health and social services and reviews of key policies in Wales including prescription charges and youth policies.

More detailed information on some of our projects is presented below:

Current Research Projects

Governance and Public Boards – Professor Catherine Farrell

Catherine’s current research is focused on the participation and involvement of citizen stakeholders in the governance of public services. This project focuses on public boards and reviews the membership and role of the different stakeholders. Within the context of boards of governors in schools, the project reviews the effectiveness of this approach to school management.

Catherine is also researching governance in the UK Fire and Rescue Service. This project reviews a range of models of governance and involves observations of board meetings and focus groups with key stakeholders.

Do Outcome Agreements work? – Professor Jennifer Law

Many countries are experimenting with 'results based accountability’ or 'outcome agreements’. These initiatives are supposed to improve performance by focusing on the results of public services rather than processes. However, there is very little evidence about whether they work. This project examines the effectiveness of these agreements by focusing on local authority outcome agreements in Wales. The project was supported by the Welsh Government New Ideas Fund.

Youth Policy Reviews in European Countries – Professor Howard Williamson

Howard is currently engaged in the co-ordination of a youth policy review of Ukraine on behalf of the Council of Europe. This is the 19th country to be reviewed by an international team since 1997. The review looks at structures of governance, policy implementation, the experiences and perspectives of young people, and the 'enabling context’ of youth research, professional training and platforms for the dissemination of good practice.