I am a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of York in the United Kingdom, where I am currently Deputy Head of Department. I blog here in a personal capacity and all views are my own.

My research focuses on: the politics of the policy process; comparative analysis of welfare states; and, the implications of the information age for public policy and public services. My teaching my research interests: I help deliver a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules that reflect my interest in social policy making, including The Policy Making ProcessSocial Policy Analysis, Comparative Social Policy and Introducing Social Policy.

I am currently a member of the East Asian Social Policy (EASP) Research Network’s executive committee. I was a member of the Social Policy Association‘s  (SPA) Executive Committee for 12 years from 1997-2007 and 2011-12, during which time I was the founding editor of the magazine Policy World and the website social-policy.com and lead organiser of the 2012 EASP/SPA Conference held at York. I was the Vice-Chair of the Joint University Council’s Social Policy Committee (JUC-SPC) 2006-2010.

Before joining the University of York, I had worked as a researcher in the Department of Government at Brunel University, the Department of Sociology & Social Policy at Newcastle University, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and in the House of Commons. From April-September 2005 I was Visiting Fellow at the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia and in July 2007 visited the University of Sydney on a Worldwide Universities Network International Researcher Mobility Scheme award.

I was born in 1972 in Sunderland, UK, was educated at Redby Primary School in Sunderland and Durham Johnston Comprehensive School and Brunel University. I hold a first class honours degree in Politics and Modern History, a PhD in Political Science and a Postgraduate Certificate of Academic Practice.

My academic interests are heavily influenced by events that impacted on the North East of England during my formative years, particularly the deindustrialisation of the region and its subsequent attempts to adjust to a post-industrial era, its lack of a formal political base to voice its opposition to the Thatcher government’s rolling back of the Keynesian welfare state and the social impacts of persistently high levels of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion.