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Social Work and Social Policy

Research is innovative and interdisciplinary, with a strong commitment to reflecting the realities of people’s lives and providing a foundation for the development of policy and practice.


Research in this field is led by the School of Social Work, Care and Community, spearheaded by our five research centres and focused on the following broad themes:

  • Children, young people and families – this includes work on children’s rights and participation, child care and protection, support for families, adoption and race, refugee and migrant children, and is led by The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation and the Connect Centre.
  • Psychosocial wellbeing and mental health – this includes work on policy and practice, including suicide, domestic violence, mental health, innovative service provision, the role of the arts in health and social care and community settings, theoretical and critical work. Work is led by the Psychosocial Research Unit and the Connect Centre

Impact and Collaboration 

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework we submitted 30 staff under Social Work and Social Policy; 57% of our submission was assessed as internationally excellent or world leading, with 94% internationally recognised. We were particularly commended for the wider impact of our research.

All of our research aims to inform policy and practice, and most of it is carried out in partnership with providers and users of services.

Our research has been influential in the reform of child care in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and we are part of an international research group on independent children’s rights institutions.

UCLan led the national evaluation of independent social work practices in England, the largest research project ever funded by the Department for Education or its predecessors.

Our Knowledge Transfer Partnership is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and Technology Strategy Board to develop evidence around recovery-based drug and alcohol treatment services. We are part of ‘Making Research Count’, a national collaborative research dissemination initiative to promote knowledge-based practice.

Researchers working within this theme from the School of Social Work, Care and Community are leading on one of the University’s Research Institutes – the Lancashire Research Institute of Citizenship, Society and Change - which brings together powerful research strands from four UCLan Faculties into a critical mass capable of extensive transdisciplinary work, well placed to respond to urgent and profound questions concerning a sustainable future, relationships among individuals and communities, arts and culture, public institutions of health, welfare and security.


To find out more about research within Social Work and Social Policy, contact: