I am Professor of Economic Evaluation at the University
of Westminster. I previously worked as Principal Research Fellow and Director of Policy
Evaluation at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (2008 - 2016) and Research
Director at the Policy Studies Institute (2000 - 2008). I have a PhD
in economics from the University of Manchester.
The primary focus of my research is on policy evaluation. To this end, I have designed, conducted and/or analysed numerous randomised trials and non-experimental evaluations, both for government departments and for other organisations. The interventions I have studied have mostly been in the fields of employment, welfare and education/training. They have sought to influence a range of outcomes such as employment, earnings, educational attainment, health, well-being and criminal behaviour. My specific expertise is in the application of quantitative methods to estimate causal impacts. Related to this, I have an interest in exploring the potential presented by newly-available
data (especially administrative data) and methodological advances.
In addition, I sit on several project advisory groups and act as strategic adviser to the Youth Futures Foundation. I have previously served as specialist advisor to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee.
For more details (including older publications and CV) please visit
Current/recent projects (as of 22 September 2022) include:
Youth custody: Educational influences and labour market consequences. This is a programme of research in partnership with FFT Education Datalab, University of Bath, the LSE and the Behavioural Insights Team to estimate how aspects of schooling (participation, peers, qualifications
and exclusion) affect the probability of being imprisoned and, beyond
school, estimate the impact of prison on subsequent labour market outcomes. See project page.
Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence - Regional and labour market statistics programme. We are working with the National Institute of Economic and Social Research to explore the potential of HM Revenue and Custom’s PAYE RTI (Real Time Information) data to provide
new labour market statistics, particularly on employment transitions. We also use Labour
Force Survey (LFS) data to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
on self-employment and on local labour markets, where we also supplement
the analysis with online job vacancy data. In addition, we examine trends in the creative workforce and the role of geographic clustering. See project page.
Evaluation of the National Tutoring Programme. This evaluation covers two strands of the NTP: Tuition Partners and Academic Mentoring. The overall evaluation is being led by the National Foundation for Educational Research with University of Westminster conducting the impact analysis. Kantar Research is conducting a process study as part of the evaluation. See here for more details on NTP.
Evaluation of the Alternative Provision Specialist Task Force. The Department for Education is piloting the embedding of teams of specialists (eg, mental health workers, speech and language therapists, family support workers) in around 24 alternative provision settings in serious violence hotspots. In partnership with FFT Education Datalab, we are conducting the impact analysis for this intervention. The project is led by Rand Europe.
Evaluation of SAFE (Support, Attend, Fulfil, Exceed) Task Forces.
SAFE task forces constitute a targeted,
schools-led programme directing evidence-based interventions (e.g.
social and emotional learning, therapeutic support) at young people in
most need, by engaging active support from local partners and giving
clear lines of accountability to schools and local authorities. This
evaluation assesses the impact of the task forces on serious violence
and engagement with education. In partnership with FFT Education Datalab,
we are conducting the impact analysis for this intervention. The
project is led by Rand Europe.
Evaluation of Supervision of Designated Safeguarding Leads in schools. This programme of randomised trials aims to establish whether providing a
social worker to supervise Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) in
schools affects the quality of referrals to social services . The first
trial (completed) focused on primary schools in Bolton (see protocol). Subsequent (ongoing) trials extend this to secondary schools in Greater Manchester (protocol) and to primary schools in 10 local authorities across England. The evaluation is led by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research with input from University of Westminster to the impact analysis.
Evaluation of Individual Placement and Support. IPS was developed as a supported
employment programme for people with serious mental health problems. This project is the largest trial
of IPS to date and broadens the eligible population to encompass any
health-related obstacle to employment. Trial recruits are randomly assigned using a
bespoke web-based tool to IPS eligibility or to a business-as-usual
control. For those in the treatment group, employment support is
delivered by specialist IPS caseworkers. Outcomes are captured
through surveys and linked administrative records. The evaluation is led by the Institute of Employment Studies, in partnership with Kantar Research, NatCen and Rand Europe. The trial is located in two sites and in each case the study is registered with ISRCTN: Sheffield City Region and West Midlands Combined Authority.