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Department of Social Policy
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London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE


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The Department of Social Policy is the longest established in the UK. The Department prides itself in being able to offer teaching based on the highest quality empirical research in the field. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the UK's nationwide assessment of research quality, impact and environment, which is undertaken every six to seven years, the Department was ranked first in the UK for world leading and internationally excellent research and was also awarded the joint highest marks for the non-academic impacts of its work. When adjusted to take account of the high proportion of staff submitted to REF, it is the number one UK Social Policy Department for overall research quality.

MPhil/PhD Applications- second funding deadline on 27 April|

The Department is welcoming further applications for ESRC| and LSE scholarships in Social Policy and Demography/Population studies|.

Find out more about our eligibility and requirements here|.



High Rise Hope Revisited

High rise estates can work if they are made energy efficient, says new LSE report|

LSE Housing and Communities|, in partnership with Rockwool, launched High Rise Hope Revisited|, on February 12 2015, a new report examining the social implications of whole building energy efficiency refurbishments in residential tower blocks.




'Nurture' more important than 'nature' for overweight children|

Parents’ lifestyles, rather than their genes, are primarily responsible for their children being overweight according to research by the Centre for Economic Performance, based at LSE.

Coalition kept its promise to protect spending on schools, according to new report|

The Coalition government kept its promise to protect spending on schools, according to a new report from LSE's Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE|).

Professor John Hills

Youngest children and poorer households worst hit by Coalition's selective cuts, according to major new report|

Poorer groups have been worst affected by changes to direct taxes, benefits and tax credits despite the Coalition's promise that the rich would carry the burden of austerity, according to a major new report from LSE and the Universities of Manchester and York. As a result, poverty has been increasing and will get worse in the next five years.

Dr Hakan Seckinelgin

Dr Hakan Seckinelgin appointed new Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Civil Society

Dr Hakan Seckinelgin| , Associate Professor in International Social Policy, is the new Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Civil Society.

The journal, which is published four times a year, has multidisciplinary focus that is interested in theoretical and empirical research on civil societies, their development and their interactions with the broader local and global societal processes.

Hakan Seckinelgin is also a visiting research fellow at CERI, Science Po |in Paris from January to June 2015.

LSE Literary Festiva l2015

Department of Social Policy/PSSRU LSE Literary Festival Discussion

Perceptions of Madness: understanding mental illness through art, literature and drama|

Date: Wednesday 25 February 2015
Time: 17.00-18.30
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Speakers: Dr Sarah Carr, Paul Farmer, Nathan Filer, Dr John McGowan
Chair: Professor Martin Knapp|

How mental illness is portrayed in art, literature and on TV can have a positive or negative effect on how the public perceives mental ill health. This panel discussion explores how such presentations of mental illness can affect public understanding of mental ill health with insights from research and personal experiences.

This event forms part of theLSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2015|, with the theme 'Foundations'.

All events in the Festival are free to attend and open to all. E-tickets will be available to book  online after 10am on Tuesday 3 February via LSE E Shop.

Hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSElitfest

LSE Literary Festiva l2015

Department of Social Policy Literary Festival Conversation

Global Development and Modern Fiction|

Date: Thursday 26 February 2015
Time: 18.30-20.00
Venue: Thai Theatre, New Academic Building

Speaker: Zia Haider Rahman
Chair: Professor David Lewis

Zia Haider Rahman, whose debut novel In The Light Of What We Know| was described by The Guardian "as an exploration of the post-9/11 world that is both personal and political, epic and intensely moving", talks to Professor David Lewis| about its themes, including identity, the workings of the global development industry, and the place of Bangladesh in the world.

This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2015|, with the theme 'Foundations'.

All events in the festival are free to attend and open to all. E-tickets are available t o book online after 10am on Tuesday 3 February via LSE E Shop.

Hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSElitfest

Further events are listed in the Department diary|.

Past events are listed in News and Events archive|.

Recent Podcasts

Will Hutton

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture:How Good We Can Be: ending the mercenary society and building a great country|

Recorded on 11 February 2016

Speaker: Will Hutton
Chair: Professor Sir John Hills|

Professor David Lewis
LSE Public Lectures

Conflict Research Group Public Discussion: Picturing Race and Inequality: the potential for social change|

Recorded on 13 January 2015

Speakers: Professor Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Mark Neville, Professor Tim Newburn|, Professor Gwendolyn Sasse, Polly Toynbee

Professor John Hills

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture: Good Times Bad Times: the welfare myth of them and us|

Recorded on 12 November 2014

Speaker: Professor Sir John Hills
|Respondents: Polly Toynbee, Professor Holly Sutherland
Chair: Professor Julian Le Grand|

Professor Paul Dolan

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture: Happiness by Design|

Recorded on 22 October 2014

Speaker: Professor Paul Dolan|
Chair: Professor Elaine Fox

Linda Tirado

Department of Social Policy public conversation: Hand to Mouth: the truth about being poor in a wealthy world|

Recorded on 16 October 2014

Speaker: Linda Tirado
Chair: Rowan Harvey
Introduction by Dr Amanda Sheely|

LSE Public Lectures

LSE Health and Africa Initiative Research Seminar: Practical and ethical dilemmas of working in the current Ebola crisis|

Recorded on 15 October 2014

Speaker: Dr Benjamin Black
|Chair: Dr Ernestina Coast|

More podcasts available at Events podcasts|

Recent Videos

This information is generated by an RSS feed from the Department audio and video channel|, and shows the 4 most recent videos produced by the LSE.
  • Reading the Riots [Video]
    Contributor(s): Professor Tim Newburn | Tim Newburn, Professor of Criminology and Social Policy, talks about the prize-winning study ‘Reading the Riots’ that he did with the Guardian newspaper.
  • MSc Criminal Justice Policy [Video]
    Contributor(s): Dr Coretta Phillips, Dr Michael Shiner, Professor Tim Newburn, Professor Robert Reiner, Kirat Kaur Kalyan, Amy Taylor, Sarah Anderson, Elvio Lopez-Correia, Alejandro Litman-Silberman, Sarah Anderson | Introduction to the MSc Criminal Justice Policy at the LSE.
  • Executive MSc Behavioural Science [Video]
    Contributor(s): Professor Paul Dolan, Dr Barbara Fasolo | A short video introduction to the Executive MSc in Behavioural Science which is being launched by LSE’s Departments of Social Policy and Management. The programme is delivered in a modular format and aims to provide a suite of high quality integrated courses for individuals seeking to advance their career in behavioural science while continuing to work.
  • Social Policy at LSE: Alistair McGuire [Video]
    Contributor(s): Professor Alistair McGuire | A profile of Alistair McGuire, Professor of Health Economics at LSE Department of Social Policy.
More videos available at Social Policy Video Channel|

Other videos

The Arts of Desistance Report cover

Koestler Trust Mentoring Programme
Released on:
03 November 2014
Contributor(s): Dr Leo Cheliotis|

Since 2007 The Koestler Trust has supported ex-offenders to continue with their artistic activities by matching them with a specially trained arts mentor. The Koestler Trust commissioned this film to help explain and promote the mentoring programme to future mentees, mentors and funders. The film explains the journey from a mentee that is starting out through to mentee that has attained a higher level with the programme.

Gearty Grilling: Martin Knapp on Spending on Mental Health
Released on: 30 October 2014
Contributor(s): Professor Martin Knapp|

Professor Martin Knapp discusses why we should prioritise spending on mental health.
Professor Paul Dolan

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture:
Happiness by Design|

Released on: 22 October 2014
Contributor(s):Professor Paul Dolan| 

Chaired by Professor Elaine Fox (Oxford), Paul Dolan held a public lecture at the LSE to coincide with his new book ‘Happiness by Design’. The sold out event included a lecture by Paul, a conversation with Elaine Fox and finally a Q&A segment with the audience that posed some interesting questions.

Gearty Grilling: Anne Power on growing inequality and why we need food banks
Released on: 
25 June 2014
Contributor(s): Professor Anne Power|

Anne Power, Professor of Social Policy, discusses growing inequality, why government should listen more to ordinary people and why we now need food banks.

Gearty Grilling: Julian Legrand on how choice and competition can improves public services|

Released on: 21 May 2014
Contributor(s): Professor Julian Legrand
Julian Le Grand, Richard Titmuss professor of social policy and one of the principal architects of the UK Government’s public service reforms, explains why competition is the best way of enhancing hospitals and schools.



Latest Publications|

This information is generated by an RSS feed from LSE Research Online|, and shows the 20 most recent publications (either published, or accepted for publication).

Featured Publications
Government Paternalism: nanny state or helpful friend?

Government Paternalism: nanny state or helpful friend?|

Princeton University Press (January 2015)

Should governments save people from themselves? Do governments have the right to influence citizens’ behaviour related to smoking tobacco, eating too much, not saving enough, drinking alcohol, or taking marijuana - or does this create a nanny state, leading to infantilisation, demotivation, and breaches in individual autonomy? Looking at examples from both sides of the Atlantic and around the world, Government Paternalism examines the justifications for, and the prevalence of, government involvement and considers when intervention might or might not be acceptable. Building on developments in philosophy, behavioural economics, and psychology, Professor Julian Le Grand| and Bill New explore the roles, boundaries, and responsibilities of the government and its citizens.

Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology|

Routledge (November 2014)

Edited by Professor Jennifer Brown|

In recent decades, the remit of forensic psychology has considerably widened. From an original, narrow focus on presenting evidence to the courts, its scope now spreads across the whole span of civil and criminal justice. Forensic psychologists are now intimately involved with suspects, offenders, victims, witnesses, defendants, litigants, and justice professionals.

As serious academic and practical thinking in and around forensic psychology continues to develop, this new four-volume collection from Routledge's Critical Concepts in Psychology| series meets the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of a rapidly growing and ever more complex corpus of literature. Edited by a leading scholar and practitioner, the collection gathers the foundational major works together with the very best contemporary scholarship.

With full index and thoughtful introductions, newly written by the editor, Forensic Psychology will be valued by scholars. students, and professionals in the field as a vital and enduring resource. Read more|

Good Times, Bad Times: the welfare myth of them and us

Good Times, Bad times: the welfare myth of them and us|

Policy Press (November 2014)

Two-thirds of UK government spending now goes on the welfare state and where the money is spent - healthcare, education, pensions, benefits - is the centre of political and public debate. Much of that debate is dominated by the myth that the population divides into those who benefit from the welfare state and those who pay into it. This ground breaking book, written by Professor John Hills|, uses extensive research and survey evidence to challenge that view. It shows that our complex and ever-changing lives means that all of us rely on the welfare state throughout our lifetimes, not just a small 'welfare-dependent' minority. Using everyday life stories and engaging graphics, Professor John Hills clearly demonstrates how the facts are far removed from the myths. More|

John Hills is Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion| at the London School of Economics. He was knighted in 2013 for services to the development of social policy.