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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.

Call for applications – LTI grants 2015-16

Do you have a great project in mind to enhance learning with technology? Then why not get funding with an LTI grant! 

Applications can be submitted under four strands:
  • Innovative teaching and learning
  • E-Assessment innovation
  • Students as Producers
  • Project applications from students

The deadline for applications is Friday 29 May 2015

More information and ideas for possible projects can be found on the LTI blog| or by emailing lti.support@lse.ac.uk|


Thousands miss out on palliative care due to unfair health system

The UK’s palliative care system needs a major overhaul, according to an LSE report (released Wednesday 8 April), which reveals widespread inequities and a lack of services for non-cancer patients.

Terminally ill patients with illnesses other than cancer; people aged over 85 years; black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups; and people living in socially deprived areas are all missing out on important palliative care services, the report from the LSE PSSRU| shows. Read more here|.

LSE Research News- Professor Elias Mossialos awarded funding.

Professor Elias Mossialos|, LSE Health and Social Care, has received funding of £25,000 from the Commonwealth Fund to undertake a project to outline methodological considerations in performing international comparisons on medical device prices; compare price levels of hospital services across a selection of high-income countries; demonstrate the economic implications of substituting new brand name cancer drugs with equally effective older alternatives; and explore the prices and use rates for generic cardiovascular drugs.
LSE Research News- Dr David McDaid awarded funding.

David McDaid|, Personal Social Services Research Unit, has been awarded £11,200 by the University of Cape Town to participate in the DFID-funded Programme for Improving Mental Health Care (PRIME). The project will model the economic consequences of maternal mental health interventions for mothers and their dependent children in low and middle-income countries.
 Leading Edge Of Impact

Shining example of UK research

Reading the Riots, a study by LSE and the Guardian newspaper to examine the causes and consequences of the 2011 London riots, has been picked as one of the "shining examples of UK research|" by the journal Nature.

Professor Tim Newburn| and his team carried out hundreds of interviews with rioters, residents, lawyers and police. Rioters had concerns about aggressive policing, particularly the use of 'stop and search' policies, which were felt to unfairly target particular groups.

High Rise Hope Revisited

Welfare reforms failing to move social housing tenants into work, according to new LSE research|

The Coalition Government's radical welfare reforms have resulted in very few social housing tenants being able to find jobs despite their aim of moving people dependent on benefits into work, according to a new LSE report.

A team led by Anne Power|, Professor of Social Policy at LSE, carried out two rounds of interviews with 200 tenants in the South West of England covering big cities, coastal towns, villages and tourist centres over a two-year period to find out how the reforms are playing out in low-income communities across the UK. The report, Is Welfare working?, provides unique evidence about how tenants and social landlords are coping under the financial pressures of welfare reform.

 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|

Misbehaving: the making of behavioural economics

Department of Social Policy Public Lecture
Misbehaving: the making of behavioural economics|

Date: Tuesday 9 June 2015
Time: 18.30-20.00
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building
Speaker: Professor Richard Thaler
Chair: Professor Paul Dolan

Speaking about his latest book Misbehaving: the making of behavioural economics|, Richard Thaler will couple recent discoveries in human psychology with a practical understanding of incentives and market behaviour. Thaler will explain how to make smarter decisions in an increasingly mystifying world, revealing how behavioural economic analysis opens up new ways to look at everything.

Richard Thaler is the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioural Science and Economics and the Director of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business.

Paul Dolan| is a Professor of Behavioural Science in the Department of Social Policy at LSE.

Hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSEThaler

Ticket Information
This event is free however a ticket is required, only one ticket per person can be requested. Tickets can be requested from 6.00pm on Tuesday 2nd June until at least 12 noon on Wednesday 3rd June. Please view the Public Events listing| to access the ticket request system at this time.
For any queries email 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 2015)

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.