LSE Public Policy Group


Maximising the impact of social science research

LSE Public Policy Group (PPG) is an independent consultancy and research organisation.

PPG provides thorough analysis and recommendations for a variety of clients; providing an interface between academia, the private, public and 'third' sector.

The group has close links with the LSE British Politics and Policy blog, the LSE Business Review, Democratic Audit and Democratic Dashboard

About our work

The LSE Public Policy Group (PPG) was founded in 1998. Since then, the size and profile of the Group has grown considerably and PPG now includes members from many departments in the School and from other major universities. The Group conducts a mix of commercial and pro bono activities, including consulting, research, seminar and conference organising, and publications.

The Group undertakes consultancy and research work for:

  • Major government departments and Parliamentary agencies
  • Charities and interest groups
  • Media and public affairs organisations
  • Research councils and foundations
  • Major companies
  • Overseas government organisations
  • International organisations

The Group works closely with Enterprise LSE, who undertake project management and contract negotiations for all PPG consultancy activities, and with the LSE Research Grants and Contracts Office, who handle grant-funded research.

PPG's particular expertise is concentrated in the following areas:

  • Public policy evaluation and research
  • Public sector innovation
  • Public sector productivity
  • Analysis of new public management trends, especially privatisation, the private finance initiative, public-private   partnerships, contracting, regulation and outsourcing issues
  • Government citizen relations including information exchange via face to face, paper based and online communication methods
  • The impact of new information and communication technologies on governance including digital era government
  • All aspects of e-government and e-governance
  • Simulations of electoral systems, institutional innovation in government, and democracy initiatives
  • Design and implementation of opinion polls, surveys and analysis (both online and conventional)
  • Use of focus groups and qualitative comparative analysis as research tools

PPG coordinates, with the Careers Service, LSE Internships which places graduate students with members of parliament, peers and related political organisations.

The Group also provides training and induction courses on policy evaluation methods and on UK governance and public administration issues for senior personnel.

PPG publishes papers in Public Policy, focusing mainly on the central government and public administration, and a range of research analyses, most recently focusing on alternative electoral systems in Britain.

PPG has particular expertise in the development of public administration systems, organisational and governance arrangements in the public sector, quasi-governmental organisations, the role of information technology in government, government on the Web and related issues, the use of performance indicators and setting of targets, the operation of regulatory mechanisms, privatisation and public-private partnerships, the modelling of government-business interactions in contracting, change management in the public sector, linkages with the European Union, and the full range of 'joined-up' governance issues.  

PPG members have a close understanding of government accountability to Parliament and have served as advisors to several Parliamentary Select Committees, in addition to their awareness of Public Accounts Committee work. Some of the leading work on parliamentary accountability, central government management and core executive decision-making in the UK has been produced by PPG members.

PPG can provide talented multi-disciplinary teams in a wide range of fields, especially spanning IT policy issues, social policy and housing, general government administration, and regulatory policy. In the European field PPG can provide teams with multi-lingual capabilities, and more broadly they can cover both international policy and development policy issues.

LSE's close proximity to Parliament and Whitehall enables meetings and an interchange of information and views to be realised with ease, an important aspect in a close working relationship with Government and the public sector in general. PPG is committed to providing a flexible service to all clients, including all reasonable requests for consultation, feedback, dissemination and after-care work, which is included within the fixed prices for all our contracts.

Staff and research associates

Members of the Public Policy Group are internationally recognised as leading experts in the field of public policy, public administration and political science, and participate in a wide variety of grant-funded primary research projects.

You will find brief CVs of the Committee members below. PPG works in close collaboration with a range of other units within the London School of Economics, including the Innovation research Programme (involving PPG, Economics and the Media Department), the Greater London Group, LSE Housing, and a wide range of LSE departments, including Government, Economics, Geography, and Information Systems (contact details of our Academic Associates are below).

It also works with Oxford Internet Institute on a range of research. Additionally we have developed contacts with a wide network of other academic experts at top universities in London, the UK and Europe, on which we draw on for specialist advice on detailed issues.

PPG team

Professor Patrick Dunleavy - Chair of PPG
Patrick Dunleavy is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he has worked since 1979. He was educated at Corpus Christi College and Nuffield College, Oxford, where he gained his D.Phil. He has authored and edited numerous books on political science theory, British politics and urban politics, as well as more than 50 articles in professional journals. His current research includes a seven country study of how central governments relate to the IT industry for the UK's Economic and Social Research Council.
More informationExperts entry
Contact details: 020 7955 7178, p.dunleavy@lse.ac.uk 

Simon Bastow- Senior Research Fellow
Simon has worked on public policy and e-government issues for more than ten years, formerly at the School of Public Policy, University College London, and since 2005, as part of the LSE Public Policy Group. During this time, he been involved in extensive studies of UK and international e-government on behalf of the National Audit Office, and has co-authored a number of publications in this field. Simon has worked on many other issues of public management reform in the UK and beyond, and is currently completing a PhD on the public management of the prison system in England and Wales.
Contact details: Room Q503, 020 7107 5246, s.j.bastow@lse.ac.uk 

Dr Stuart A Brown  – Researcher
Stuart joined LSE PPG in July 2012 and works on both the European Court of Auditors review project, and EUROPP – LSE’s European Politics and Policy blog. Before joining PPG he completed his PhD in European Politics at the University of Strathclyde. His research interests include economic integration, regulatory processes and EU agencies.
Contact details: Room LCH3.02A, 020 7955 6731, s.a.brown@lse.ac.uk   

Cheryl Brumley - Digital Editor
Cheryl Brumley is the Digital Editor for the Public Policy Group blogs and produces the LSE Review of Books Podcast, voxEUROPP, the British Politicast and the Impact blog podcasts. Cheryl previously conducted research into social media and the Arab Spring at the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, and researched for BBC World Service radio on work experience. She also worked at the UK Department of Health and the House of Lords. Cheryl is a graduate of the LSE with an MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. 
Contact details: Room LCH.3.02, 020 7955 6064, C.K.Brumley@lse.ac.uk

Helena Vieira – Managing Editor, LSE Business Review
Helena joined PPG in March 2015 to help set up the new LSE Business Review blog, for which she will be Managing Editor. She has wide experience as a journalist for a number of media outlets, including Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. Helena has lived and worked in four continents.  She holds an M.A. in International Development from American University in Washington, D.C. and an M.Sc. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University in New York. 
Contact details: Room LCH3.04, 020 7955 6909, h.vieira@lse.ac.uk

Dr Joachim Wehner - Lecturer in Public Policy 
Joachim is Lecturer in Public Policy and a member of the Political Science and Political Economy (PSPE) research group at the LSE. He studied political science at the Free University Berlin (Germany), the Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town (South Africa), and the LSE. He holds masters degrees from the University of Stellenbosch and the LSE, and a PhD in Government from the LSE. Prior to joining LSE as a lecturer, Joachim worked as a policy analyst at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa), focusing on public finances. He has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the UK Department for International Development, and other organisations. This has included assignments in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. His main research interests are public budgeting, fiscal performance, legislatures and federalism. He teaches Public Budgeting and Financial Management (GV4E4).
Contact details: Room TW2 8.01B, 020 7955 6422, j.h.wehner@lse.ac.uk 

Sierra Williams – Editor / Research Assistant
Sierra Williams joined LSE PPG in July 2012 and is primarily involved with the LSE Impact of Social Sciences project and blog. She holds an MPhil in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation Studies from Trinity College, Dublin and a BA in Sociology from the University of San Francisco. Prior to this Sierra worked at the Public Library of Science (PLOS). Her research interests are in the sociology of scientific knowledge, open access, use of research in the third sector, and wider forms of research and pedagogical impact assessment.
Contact details: Room LCH3.02A, 020 7955 6731, s.williams4@lse.ac.uk

Research associates

Dr Stuart Astill
Dr Stuart Astill is Principal Consultant at IOD PARC, a leading global specialist provider in the field of results-based performance assessment. In this role he works with organisations to achieve sustainable value-for-money improvements and embed change to better achieve their aims.

He has almost twenty years experience in Civil Service and consultancy roles in the UK and EU as an economist, policy analyst and statistician. Stuart was previously the National Audit Office (NAO) Research Fellow based at the LSE where he carried out a major piece of research on value-for-money audit in the UK NAO and the French Cour des Comptes. He has taught widely on government, politics and economics at LSE, as Visiting Lecturer at Sheffield University and on the MPA programme of Sciences-Po (IEP), Paris.

Latterly, he was the senior economist for finance and performance analysis for the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), leading on the strategic improvement of performance and VfM systems and analysis of total expenditure as well as taking lead responsibility for improving performance understanding for the UK Government's Contracted Employment Programmes. He promoted a focus on measuring, incentivising and driving performance and VfM - the DWP spends around £8bn on running costs and programmes each year as well as distributing more than £150bn of social income transfers.

He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on public administration, political analysis, economics of public policy, rational choice and comparative policy change. He has researched extensively the theory and practical implications of networks and policy making in France and the UK and is interested in the roles of evolution of ideas, networks and complexity in public policy formation. His current research is centred on extending the political science toolbox to make ideas from non-linear mathematics and complexity theory more widely accessible.

Dr Françoise Boucek
Françoise Boucek is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Politics at Queen Mary, University of London where she has been teaching comparative and EU politics since 2003. Previously, she was Research Officer in the LSE Public Policy Group where she worked on various projects notably the 'Difficult Forms' report for the National Audit Office for which she was Team leader for all aspects of planning, organising and running multiple focus groups. She also managed the LSE Internships Programme and lectured and taught in the Department of Government while on the doctoral programme. Her PhD thesis, which won the 2002 LSE's William Robson Memorial Prize, focused on the impact of factionalism on dominant parties in Britain, Canada, Italy, and Japan. Her most recent book is Factional Politics: How Dominant Parties Implode or Stabilize (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). She is also co-editor (with Matthijs Bogaards) of  Dominant Political Parties and Democracy: Concepts, Measures, Cases and Comparisons (London: Routledge, 2010).

Her association with the LSE goes back to 1989 when she joined the MSc programme in European Politics and Policy. She returned to the LSE in 1993 after teaching for two years in the Department of Politics and Modern History at London Metropolitan University. However, before returning to university in the mid-1980s to study political science at the University of Toronto, she worked for a large investment bank in Toronto (Canada) as Research Officer and Junior Financial Analyst covering the oil and gas industry. Before this, she worked in various administrative capacities in commerce and industry in Toronto and Montreal (Canada) and in London (UK) where she moved from France in the mid-1970s after completing her undergraduate studies.

Dr Leandro Carrera
Leandro Carrera is a Researcher at the Pensions Policy Institute. Prior to this he worked for the Public Policy Group researching public sector productivity as part of the EDS Innovation Programme between 2007 and 2010. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Arizona, with a major in comparative politics and a minor in research methods. His research interests include the measurement of public sector performance and innovation; the analysis of pension policy and performance in European and Latin American countries, and the use of new configurational methods (specifically, Fuzzy Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis) in applied social science research. He has also worked for the Argentine Government consulting on institutional reform and in the private sector.

Mark Carrigan
Mark Carrigan is a sociologist and academic technologist based at the University of Warwick. He edits the Sociological Imagination and co-convenes the BSA Digital Sociology and BSA Realism and Social Research groups. He was formerly managing editor of the LSE's British Politics and Policy Blog. His research interests include sociological theory, methodology, biographical methods, longitudinal qualitative research, asexuality, sexual culture and digital sociology.

Dr Rekha Diwakar 
Dr Rekha Diwakar (r.diwakar@lse.ac.uk) is Lecturer at Department of Politics, Goldsmiths College, University of London, where she teaches courses in research methods, public policy and comparative politics. (Further details can be found on her personal webpage at http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/politics/staff/diwakar.php). She obtained an MRes and a PhD in Political Science at the LSE, and worked as an LSE Fellow in the MPA programme 2005-08. She has published on the size of party system and voter turnout in India and her current research interests include electoral competition and voter behaviour, comparative public administration especially civil service reforms. 

Dr Henning Meyer
Dr Henning Meyer is a Senior Visiting Fellow at LSE, Director of New Global Strategy Ltd. and Editor of Social Europe Journal (www.social-europe.eu). He has studied politics, economics and business in Germany and the UK and works in the areas of globalisation, global policy, social democracy, political economy, economic policy, European Union, new media, online technology and strategy. His publications cover academic outputs as well as contributions to mainstream media such as The Guardian and DIE ZEIT and TV channels such as the BBC, Sky, Al Jazeera International and CNBC. Before joining LSE, Dr Meyer ran the European Programme at the Global Policy Institute in London and was a Visiting Fellow at the School for Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) at Cornell University.

Dr Eva Maria-Nag
Dr. Nag is an academic at the School of Government and International Affairs (Durham University) and Research Associate at the Public Policy Group (LSE). She is a member of the Practitioners’ Advisory Board of the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and an Advisory Board Member of the Pakistan Journal of International Relations. Eva-Maria received her PhD on Indian political thought from the LSE and is the founding Executive Editor of Global Policy. An expert in comparative political theory, her research interests include theories of democracy and violence in South Asia and the ideational implications of multipolarity in the international system. Her latest project was Climate Governance in the Developing World.

Jane Tinkler 
Jane is Social Science Adviser for the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. She was previously Research Fellow and Manager of the LSE Public Policy Group. She is one of the authors of the book taken from the LSE's Impact of Social Sciences project. This looked at how academic work has impact on government, business and civil society. She also oversaw the creation and running of the Public Policy Group's six academic blogs: British Politics and Policy, European Politics and Policy, USAPP, the LSE Review of Books, the Democratic Audit and Impact of Social Sciences blog. Her academic research interests focus on the quality of public services in the UK. Projects include citizen redress in UK public services, how academic research feeds into the work of Parliament, and the use of design approaches to innovative change in the public sector. Her most recent publication (with Dunleavy and Bastow) is ’The Impact of the Social Sciences: How academics and their work make a difference’ (Sage, 2014).
Contact details:  tinklerj@parliament.uk

Academic associates

Projects and research

Our projects include:

Maximising the impact of humanities and social sciences research

  • The full report is available here.
  • The research report, which contains case studies and more in-depth findings can be downloaded here

Britain needs a culture of public intellectual life so it can understand the huge benefits it gets from the study of humanities and social science, argues a report to the British Academy today (September 17th).

The report, from the LSE Public Policy Group, finds that humanities and social sciences (HSS) make big contributions to the economy, government and public life but that these are undervalued or even ignored. It argues that the first step to recognition must be for HSS subjects to precisely measure and record the difference they are making - for example, contributing between £16 billion and £22 billion to the UK economy each year.

Professor Patrick Dunleavy, one of the report's authors, said: 'The problem was summed up by one academic we spoke to who pointed out that UK universities dominate the list of Europe's best but that our intellectual figures receive no credit or recognition for this achievement.

'It's primarily by accurately measuring and celebrating the enormous contribution of the humanities and social science that we can build up their public recognition and research funding. Many of us working in these fields have been too timid or fatalistic to challenge the sidelining of these disciplines.'

The report, Maximizing the social, policy and economic impacts of research in the humanities and social sciences, points out that HSS accounts for two fifths of UK university students but that the disciplines receive barely a sixth of government research funding. Large companies devote only around one twentieth of the research and development budgets to these areas - even where they have particular interest in public policy or consumer behaviour.

Too often, the study argues, public understanding of the 'knowledge economy' is restricted to science - even though social sciences should be increasingly important as both governments and companies turn to 'intelligent' or 'knowing' strategies for understanding how citizens and social groups really work. There are more than 27 recommendations in the report, which is based on interviews with more than 100 senior people from business, government, academia, media and civil society. It also surveyed 450 academics in HSS fields and conducted 10 in-depth case studies of areas where humanities or social science have had a great impact on public life.

The survey also asked contributors to rank the actual and potential impact of their subjects and in every category showed a marked gap between the effect the disciplines have now and the impact they could have.

Also among the recommendations are calls for humanities and social science to pursue business funding more aggressively, use digital data technology more effectively and to radically improve the ways in which higher degree students are trained.  

Citizen redress

A joint team from the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford are researching 'Citizen Redress' in the UK.

For citizens who are attempting to put right what they see as wrong decisions made by government departments, agencies, and local authorities or NHS bodies, the process can be difficult, stressful, complicated and long. Especially in the earliest stages, access to information about how to complain, seek an internal review of a decision that seems wrong, or appeal that decision through the administrative justice system is likely to be a critical influence on whether or not potential seekers of redress successfully activate their rights.

This research project will look at how all aspects of the current complaints handling process currently works. It will consider whether ideas such as co-ordinated provision of initial information, early case handling and active case progression can improve the situation for citizens trying to put things right. The project will also look at how finding information on complaints and appeals in the 'digital era' has changed the process of initiating redress.

Publications

PPG Publications 2012 

PPG Publications for previous years

Progress in delivering information and services online 
London: NAO. Publication date: 13/07/2007. HC 529 2006-2007.

The study examines how central government organisations have grown delivery of their services online; how citizens use government services online; the quality of government services online; and the role of the Transformational Government agenda in the development of services online. To answer these questions, the study used a number of methodologies.

We surveyed central government organisations to collect information about the cost and usage of their online services. We undertook a census of central government websites to evaluate how informative and interactive they are. We analysed web links across the government domain to find out how 'connected' government websites are.

We conducted experiments to explore users' experience of government websites. We ran focus groups and polls with citizens on how they use government services online. And we looked at three country comparators, the US, Canada and Sweden

Government information systems are big business (costing over 1 per cent of GDP a year). They are critical to all aspects of public policy and governmental operations. Governments spend billions on them - for instance, the UK alone commits £14 billion a year to public sector IT operations.

Yet governments do not generally develop or run their own systems, instead relying on private sector computer services providers to run large, long-run contracts to provide IT. This book describes how a critical aspect of the modern state is managed, or in some cases mismanaged. It will be vital reading for public managers, IT professionals, and business executives alike, as well as for students of modern government, business, and information studies. For a review of this book - see Journal Reviews of Digital Era Governance (PDF)

Achieving Innovation London: NAO. Publication date: 25/07/2006. HC 1447-1. ISBN 0102942331

The study examines the scale and characteristics of innovation in the UK public sector, how innovations take shape and develop, and the factors explaining success. We take a relatively open definition of 'innovation'. We see innovation as 'having new ideas, developing the best ones, and implementing in such a way that there is at least a good chance that they will improve the way in which your organisation performs'. The foundation of the study rests on a comprehensive survey of 125 government and public sector agencies, inviting them to nominate and outline innovations within their own organisation. Further to the survey, our other main methods include: Case studies of some successful innovation processes, drawn from the public sector; and Comparator studies of two local authorities in the UK and two overseas governments which have achieved high levels of change. A programme of interviews and focus groups with senior officials across a range of other government departments and agencies and from representatives of the private sector.

This study attempts to map the current state of redress arrangements in UK government, looking at both complaints and appeals within central government organisations, and appeals to tribunals or independent assessors. The report also examines the ombudsmen set up in England and Wales. Methodologies included an email survey of around 350 central government bodies, a census of government websites, focus groups and interviews.

This study examines how government organisations design and process forms to acquire information. This work involves the design of an online census of government forms and running a number of focus groups in London, Edinburgh and Leeds, with relevant citizens themed around each of the five case study forms. The team also produced a practical guide to improving and reviewing forms for government organisations.

Academic associate publications

Patrick Dunleavy (2005) Authoring a PhD Thesis: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Authoring a PhD is a complex process. It involves having creative ideas, working out how to organize them, writing up from plans, upgrading the text, and finishing it speedily and to a good standard. It also includes being examined and getting published. Patrick Dunleavy has written Authoring a PhD based on his supervision experience with over 30 students.

It provides solid advice to help your PhD students cope with both the intellectual issues and practical difficulties of organizing their work effectively. It is an indispensable and time saving aid for doctoral students in the humanities, social sciences, education, business studies, law, health, arts and visual arts, and related disciplines, and will also be a great help to supervisors.

Contact us

For enquiries please contact PPG Chair: Professor Patrick Dunleavy

Tel: +44 (020) 7955 7178
Email: p.dunleavy@lse.ac.uk