Public services


Access research-related news and information about public services. You can read our latest research outputs, features, case studies and other relevant content.


Most recent features

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Reduced workforce could reshape the public sector

Feature | 14 February 2014 | General public, Press/media, Public sector

Ifs research shows that the nature of the uk labour market could be dramatically transformed within the next five years if proposed reductions in general government employment were to be fully realised.

Privatised rail: public profit or public loss?

Feature | 07 June 2013 | Business, General public, Press/media, Public sector

The privatised rail system relies upon billions of pounds of hidden subsidies from the tax payer and has failed to bring in private investment, according to research from the esrc centre for research on socio-cultural change.

Rethinking pensions

Feature | 30 May 2013 | Business, General public, Policymakers, Press/media

Six in ten people over the age of 50 in the uk have not considered how they will finance their retirement years – and a third of people approaching retirement do not know how much income they will receive from their private pensions, according to r ...

The economic legacy of mrs thatcher

Feature | 09 April 2013 | General public, Policymakers, Press/media

Nicholas crafts, professor of economics and economic history at the university of warwick and director of the esrc centre for competitive advantage in the global economy, examines how the economic policies of the thatcher era affected the uk economy. ...

Fuelling growth with public investments

Feature | 07 March 2013 | Business, General public, Policymakers, Press/media

Professor david newberry argues that public investment in the right areas will fuel uk economic growth - with the short-term impact of giving work to domestic private companies who will create jobs.

Ifs green budget: spending cuts now or tax rises later

Feature | 06 February 2013 | Business, General public, Policymakers, Press/media, Public sector, Schools

More government borrowing and public sector job cuts, as tax rises are on the horizon, warns the ifs green budget.

Invest in skills, infrastructure and innovation, says growth commission

Feature | 31 January 2013 | Academic, Business, General public, Policymakers, Press/media, Schools

Investing in human capital, improving the national infrastructure, improving finance provision for private investment and innovation, and the creation of an independent national growth council are key recommendations in the final report from the lse ...

Tracing the lives of missing persons

Feature | 25 September 2012 | General public, Press/media, Schools

A new esrc-funded project chronicles the stories of those who choose to disappear and become a missing person. The findings will be used to train police, inform government policy and design services to support those who disappear and their families.

Putting toilets on the map with open data

Feature | 30 July 2012 | Academic, General public, Press/media, Public sector, Schools

The great british public toilet map has been developed as part of an esrc-funded research project tackling ageing continence through theory tools and technology (tact3), automatically tracking councils' open data on public toilet facilities and displ ...

Case Studies

Most recent case studies

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Project management toolsets improved policing

Case Study | 30 October 2013 | Business, General public, Press/media, Public sector

New project management toolsets developed with the esrc-funded transformation project helped warwickshire police launch new automatic number plate recognition schemes on time and budget – targeting vehicle-based criminality and solving a string of ...

Reforming the portuguese vat system

Case Study | 15 April 2013 | General public, International, Policymakers, Press/media

Recommendations by professor rita de la feria led to reforms implemented in the portugal’s 2012 state budget which boosted the efficiency of tax and generated savings of 1. 2 per cent gdp.

Improving adult social care in cornwall

Case Study | 14 January 2013 | General public, Press/media, Public sector

Esrc-funded research provided cornwall council with effective training tools for social care staff - improving adult care and leading to yearly cost savings of â£80,000.

Improving the school league tables

Case Study | 14 December 2012 | Academic, General public, Higher education, Policymakers, Schools

Recommendations from the esrc centre for market and public organisation (cmpo) to improve school league tables were adopted by the department for education and implemented in 2011.

Hospital competition in the nhs

Case Study | 24 September 2012 | Academic, Policymakers, Press/media, Public sector

Government used esrc-funded research to inform its policies when increasing competition in the nhs.

Social science impact on the sure start initiative

Case Study | 15 June 2012 | Academic, Business, General public, Higher education, Policymakers, Public sector, Schools

Social science underpinned by esrc support played a major role in establishing and delivering the government's sure start initiative in 1999, which aimed to provide integrated early years services for disadvantaged groups.

Better use of hospital data

Case Study | 02 June 2009 | General public, Public sector

A knowledge transfer partnership project improved data gathering, performance monitoring and service management for nhs middlesbrough and nhs redcar and cleveland, enhancing local quality and outcome frameworks.

School improvement saving expenses

Case Study | 10 December 2008 | General public, Schools

New methodologies and pioneering survey software has helped dorset county council analyse school performance, improve services and save costs on data analysis.

Using research in family support

Case Study | 19 November 2008 | Business, General public, Policymakers, Press/media, Public sector

A knowledge transfer partnership with wakefield family services encouraged a culture shift towards using research to improve effectiveness, and the implementation of research governance framework procedures.

Quality in staff performance

Case Study | 25 October 2007 | General public, Public sector

A knowledge transfer partnership between bath and north east somerset primary care trust and the university of bath has helped to develop improved performance management systems for staff, along with new management training courses.

Press Releases

Most recent press releases

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New team to navigate local government

Press Release | 22 March 2013 | Academic, Policymakers

The economic and social research council (esrc) is delighted to announce the appointment of a new local government navigator team. Building relationships, raising the profile of social science research and identifying opportunities for collaboration ...

Social exclusion among shift workers and older people

Press Release | 14 December 2011 | Academic, Business, General public, Policymakers, Press/media, Voluntary sector

Older people and those who work non-standard hours are less likely to feel integrated into society, according to a study funded by the economic and social research council (esrc)

Localism is doomed unless whitehall can change

Press Release | 10 November 2011 | Academic, Business, General public, Policymakers, Press/media, Public sector

The government’s commitment to ‘localism’ is likely to fail unless whitehall departments can shed a deep-rooted culture of centralism, a new study suggests.

What does scottish independence really mean?

Press Release | 21 July 2011 | Academic, Business, General public, International, Policymakers, Press/media, Public sector

Following the victory of the scottish national party (snp) in the recent scottish elections on may 5, a unique in-depth survey of the entire snp membership conducted throughout 2008, funded by the economic and social research council (esrc), reveals ...

Graphic partnership brings life to council data

Press Release | 14 July 2010 | General public, Press/media, Public sector

Data visualisation techniques that generate sophisticated graphics could bring a fresh dimension to communications and decision-making by public bodies like local councils, according to research completed for the economic and social research council ...

Performance reviews are raising council standards, say researchers

Press Release | 18 October 2009 | Press/media, Public sector

Performance assessment schemes aimed at making local authorities into more effective organisations are having the desired effect, according to new research released by the economic and social research council (esrc).

Scottish public sector - new leadership needed for new times says esrc report

Press Release | 04 June 2009 | Policymakers, Press/media, Public sector

A fresh approach to public sector leadership is vital if the scottish government's vision of a more successful country is to realised - especially given challenges such as the current financial situation and a general loss of trust in leaders - accor ...


Most recent grants

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Support for carers of people with early onset dementia

Professor Heather Gage | 31 March 2014

Research to assess policies and strategies for dementia in the young (rhapsody) aims primarily to analyse the health and social care systems and infrastructures available to the severely burdened yet underserved group of people with young onset demen ...

Social media analysis for social geography

Professor Paul Watson | Social Geography | 14 February 2014

Many believe that social media data has the potential to give real insights into communities. However, there is a real challenge in unlocking this knowledge due to the enormous size and speed with which the data is generated, and a lack of understand ...

Smart data analytics for business and local government

Professor Vania Sena | Environmental Informatics | 31 January 2014

The esrc data research centre for smart analytics is a collaborative project between the universities of essex (lead partner), east anglia, and kent; its objectives are to  provide a facility where big data from businesses and local government a ...

Urban big data

Professor Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuriah | Urban Geography | 30 January 2014

The urban big data research centre (ubdrc) will provide a unique facility for researching complex and cross-cutting urban issues such as transport, employment, migration, housing, education and social exclusion. The centre will bring together an inte ...


Most recent outputs

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Morality and school choice: an exploration of british social attitudes

Sonia Exley | 02 May 2014 | Impact Report

Debates have long existed in western societies over school choice questions such as whether parents ought to be able to pay to send children to private schools or otherwise to avoid local neighbourhood schools within an education market in favour of ...

Towards independence?

Nicola Mcewen | 02 May 2014 | Other publication/report

Article written by nicola mcewen for the esrc magazing 'society now' in which she analyses the scottish government’s white paper scotland’s future. Nicola mcewen highlights that the case for independence is built around three inter-linked themes: dem ...

Bbc one reporting scotland

Nicola Mcewen | 02 May 2014 | Audio/video recording

Nicola mcewen was interviewed for the report on scotland of bbc one on the uncertain consequences of a yes vote.

Small states in europe

Nicola Mcewen | 02 May 2014 | Seminar/workshop

Nicola mcewen contributed as chair to a seminar organised by michael keating on small states in europe. Discussions focused on capacities and constraints of small states to influence decisions taken in eu institutions. Nicola also kicked-off the disc ...

Independence debate

Nicola Mcewen | 02 May 2014 | Seminar/workshop

Presentation at the politics and international department's lecture series on the independence debate and the impact independence may have on scottish-uk relations. The event also served to present the different projects that were part of the applica ...

Who will decide the referendum outcome?

Nicola Mcewen | 02 May 2014 | Other

Blog post written by nicola mcewen following speculations about voters from firth of scotland having a decisive influence on the referendum outcome. She argues that demographic factors will offer little in explaining why people will vote yes or no th ...

Independence: a renewed partnership of the isles

Nicola Mcewen | 02 May 2014 | Organised event

Nicola mcewen organised an event featuring a keynote speech by the deputy first minister, nicola sturgeon at the playfair library hall in edinburgh. The speech was followed by a response given by nicola mcewen and discussions over dinner. The event w ...