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Department of Social Policy

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Department of Social Policy
2nd Floor, Old Building
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.
LSE Health and Social Care has a new blog|

The blog features posts from staff, students and affiliates with LSE Health and Social Care based on recent and current research within the centre.
Professor Tim Newburn

ARMA Awards- Professor Tim Newburn nominated in the Impact category|

Professor Tim Newburn| is a finalist in the Impact category of the ARMA awards, which "celebrates a research manager or research management team that has invented, innovated or transformed the processes for supporting the translation of research into societal impact". He was nominated for his collaboration with the Guardian on a project called Reading the Riots|.

The ARMA prize rewards best practice in influencing the development of the research professions. The winners will be announced at the ARMA awards dinner in Brighton on Tuesday 02 June.


Unequal legacy of crisis leaves young with economic mountain to climb, according to new LSE report|

People in their twenties have been the worst affected by the economic crisis despite higher qualifications than any earlier generation, according to a comprehensive LSE analysis of what has happened to inequalities in qualifications, employment, pay, incomes and wealth since 2007.

The research, led by Professor Sir John Hills|, shows that those in their twenties and early thirties have been hardest hit by far than any other group, with the greatest drop in full-time employment, largest rises in unemployment, and greatest falls in real wages.

Dr Leonidas Cheliotis

Dr Leonidas Cheliotis awarded Outstanding Critical Criminal Justice Scholar Award

Dr Cheliotis|, Assistant Professor of Criminology at the Department of Social Policy, has been selected for the 2015 Outstanding Critical Criminal Justice Scholar Award by the American Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences|  (Critical Criminal Justice Section). Dr Cheliotis won the award 'for distinguished accomplishments in critical criminal justice scholarship across the most recent two-year period'.  Dr Cheliotis' most recent research has helped to advance criminological knowledge about the relationship between neoliberal capitalism and state and public punitiveness, paying particular attention to such issues as the origins of middle-class punitiveness, levels and patterns of punishment in post-authoritarian societies, and the politics of crime, conventional imprisonment and immigration detention amidst conditions of economic downturn.

On 5 March, Dr Cheliotis gave an invited talk at a conference entitled 'A History of Penal Regimes in Global Perspective, 1800-2015'|, organised by the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History at Harvard University's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Dr Cheliotis' talk focused on the relationship between penal policy and democratic state-building in the context of 19th-century Greece.


Professor Lucinda Platt| participates in workshop on 'Reducing Inequality: What American' Scholarship Can Learn from the European Experience'

A group of US and European scholars are meeting at Marbach Castle| to discuss the pressing subject of inequality across society and between different groups and how it might be addressed. Jointly funded by the William T. Grant Foundation| and the Jacobs Foundation|, the workshop participants will discuss commissioned papers covering the state of inequality in the US across five areas of overall inequality, immigration, mental health, education and criminal justice, with a particular focus on youth inequality.
Key European scholars in the respective fields have provided  discussion papers on these five topics illumination the European perspective, with Professor Lucinda Platt from the Social Policy Department providing a discussion paper on immigrant inequalities.


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|.



 Professor Sir Julian Le Grand

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture
The Government Paternalist: nanny state or helpful friend?|

Date: Wednesday 20 May 2015
Time: 18.30-20.00
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building
Speaker: Professor Sir Julian Le Grand
Chair: TBC

Should governments save people from themselves? If someone smokes, drinks, takes hard drugs, or tries to assist in a friend's suicide, does the government have the right to intervene? If so, how? This lecture offers answers to these questions- among the most socially important of our age.

Sir Julian Le Grand| is the Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at the LSE. He was awarded a knighthood in the 2015 New Year's honours list for services to social science and public service. He is the co-author of Government Paternalism: nanny state or helpful friend?|

Hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSELeGrand

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries contact events@lse.ac.uk|

Further events are listed in the Department diary|.

Past events are listed in News and Events archive|.

Recent Podcasts

Professor John Hills

LSE Works: CASE Public Lecture
Changing Patterns of Inequality in the UK|

Recorded on 12 March 2015

Speakers: Professor Sir John Hills, Dr Polly Vizard
Chair: Bharat Mehta

LSE Public Lectures

Department of Social Policy/PSSRU LSE Literary Festival Discussion
Perceptions of Madness: understanding mental illness through art, literature and drama|

Recorded on 25 February 2015

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

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 2015

Speaker: Will Hutton
Chair: Professor Sir John Hills|

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
Social Rights and Human Welfare

Social Rights and Human Welfare|

Routledge (March 2014)

The idea of social rights has always played a central, but often contested, part in social policy. In his latest book, Professor Hartley Dean| radically reframes our understanding of social rights as the articulation of human needs.

Taking an international perspective on rights-based approaches, the book looks at how social rights can be understood and critiqued in theory- discussing ideas around social citizenship, human need and human rights, collective responsibility and ethical imperatives. The book moves on to consider social rights in practice, providing a comparative examination of their global development, before looking more specifically at rights to livelihood, human services and housing, and at the ways in which these rights can be enforced. The final section re-evaluates prevailing theory and debates about rights-based approaches to poverty alleviation and outlines possible future directions.

Hartley Dean, is a Professor of Social Policy at LSE, where he teaches a Masters-level course on Social Rights and Human Welfare. He was formerly a welfare rights worker in Brixton, South London.

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.