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Social Work and Social Policy Administration


Unit of Assessment
Research Assessment Exercise 2008



By percentage of research activity in the submission judged to reach quality standard

UOA 40 Social Work and Social Policy and Administration

FTE Cat A Staff submitted for assessment






London School of Economics and Political Science







The social policy group within LSE is one of the largest in the UK, with an international reputation for excellence. Its work has earned it the top ranking of all UK institutions submitting research to the social policy unit of assessment in the Research Assessment Exercise 2008|.

Academics in this area, based in the Department of Social Policy and other LSE departments and research centres, attracted almost £19 million in research income over the 2008 RAE period, with the majority of funds coming from government departments, the research councils and charitable foundations. Professor Alistair McGuire, head of the Department of Social Policy, said: "This level of financial support enabled the social policy group to develop rigorous quantitative elements of its research and broaden its coverage in the main areas of its research into human need - health, shelter, education, care of older and dependent people and relief from poverty."

Academics working in social policy within LSE are particularly well-connected to policy-makers, with individual members of staff occupying positions on various UK and foreign government policy making bodies and editorial boards, and engaging in productive international research collaborations. The group has extensive international links with bodies such as WHO, the World Bank and UNICEF, and with leading universities and institutions across Europe and the USA, and increasing links within developing countries. Over the RAE period individual members of staff have been seconded to the World Bank, the OECD, and the UK Prime Minister's Office.

LSE's social policy group aims to produce work of the highest quality that informs and shapes social policy nationally and internationally. "Our approach to the study of social policy has gained widespread international attention, constituting a major British intellectual export, and generating a steady stream of overseas academic and government visiting fellows/academics and professors," said Professor McGuire. Of 81 visiting fellows/academics and professors based in the department over the last RAE period, 66 have been from overseas.

The social policy group has built its reputation in five main areas of research. It has developed thinking about the role of the state as regulator, provider and financer, in relation to the market, family and third sector; analysed the importance of specific issues, including disability, gender, social class and ethnicity, in social policy; taken forward the study of major challenges facing welfare states in the implementation of social policies, especially the challenges of globalisation and social provision beyond the OECD, population ageing, and family change; and produced rigorous analysis of the policies behind health and social care systems. These areas of research have all been underpinned by major empirical contributions, including rigorous quantitative and qualitative research, which has enabled a variety of important conceptual advances.

The social policy group's research has attracted public acclaim: RCUK recognised that research from the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion had enabled government to make better policy, and implement it faster than would otherwise have been the case; the Wanless Report on social care, which relied on research input from the group, was cited in the 2006 pre-Budget Report; the group's work on Russian mortality was used extensively by WHO; and the European Observatory, based within LSE Health, informs a wide range of policy makers across Europe.

See Definitions of Quality| 4*, 3*, 2*, 1* and u/c

See RAE 2008 Analysis of Results| in the RPDD website for more detailed information.