​​Social Care in the UK’s Four Nations: between two paradigms​

An overview of the devolution of social care policy

LSHTM event

The event marks the formal launch of the Social Care Group. The newly formed Group brings together a diverse team of researchers specialising in social care, policy evaluation, health services research, health economics, and social science. The Group's research agenda is centered on exploring the interplay between social care and other interconnected public sector systems and services, with an emphasis on healthcare. Recognising the global nature of social care challenges, the Group is committed to fostering national and international collaboration to address complex issues at the intersection of health, labour, and migration. Through interdisciplinary approaches and cross-sectoral partnerships, the Group aims to generate insights and evidence that inform policy and practice, ultimately improving outcomes for individuals, communities and systems. The social care group is based at the Department of Health Services Policy and Research and is led by Professor Shereen Hussein.

The event comprises a key note seminar delivered by Catherine Needham, Professor of Public Policy and Public Management at the Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham. Catherine’s research focuses on social care (including care markets and systems). She has published a wide range of articles, chapters and books for academic and practitioner audiences. Her most recent book was published by Policy Press in 2023 and entitled Social Care in the UK’s Four Nations: Between two Paradigms. She is a Co-Investigator in the ESRC Centre for Care and is Associate Director of the NIHR School for Social Care Research.

The seminar provides an overview of the devolution of social care policy, with key differences emerging between the UK’s four systems. The talk sets out research comparing policy contexts, mechanisms and outcomes in the four nations. Drawing on extensive interviews and document analysis in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the talk will contrast the role of ‘standardisation’ and ‘differentiation’ in social care, arguing that tensions between these paradigms is a barrier to reform.


Catherine Needham

​​Professor Catherine Needham, ​University of Birmingham

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Free and open to all. No registration required.