Child Poverty and Social Mobility: Lessons for Research and Policy

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Social and Policy Sciences

Abstract

In the US President Obama recently described falling social mobility, together with rising inequality, as the "defining challenge of our time". But social mobility is not only a concern for US policy makers. In the UK across the political spectrum there is a strong desire to develop policies that will improve the lifetime opportunities of poor children. Working with the Commission on Social Mobility and Child Poverty - a non-departmental public body established in statute by the Child Poverty Act and the Welfare reform Act and chaired by the Rt Hon Alan Milburn - the aim of this seminar series will be to bring together leading UK and international scholars (from across disciplines); policy makers and other key stakeholders (including think-tanks and charities) to present and debate the latest research findings and policy thinking in this area. By working directly with the Commission the seminar series will present an unparalleled opportunity for researchers to inform and engage directly with policy makers, cutting across Departmental boundaries within Whitehall, and potentially reaching both central and local government.

Planned Impact

Nick Clegg has described addressing social mobility as the 'primary goal' of the government's social policy. The involvement of the Commission for Social Mobility and Child Poverty in the planning and delivery of the seminar series in this important policy area will ensure that the series has substantial impact on policy and practitioners. It's involvement further brings with it the ability to attract key policy-makers and other interested parties including charities, think-tanks, civil servants and business leaders (as a pilot event in November 2013 showed). Press releases will be issued ahead of the main annual policy conference, and policy briefing papers, research bulletins and social media (produced in collaboration with partner institutions) will ensure maximum impact from the series.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The seminar series has not involved research directly. The aim was to bring together policy makers and academics. This has been successful and we have hosted a number of high profile events with speakers including the Minister for Education (Justine Greening), Lord NIck Clegg (forthcoming, 12 March 2018 event), major academics including Robert Putnam and Greg Duncan. The final seminar in March 2018 wraps up the series.
Exploitation Route This is a seminar series and has not directly produced research findings.
Sectors Government, Democracy and Justice

 
Description The seminar series has generated substantial dialogue between policy makers and academics, attracting high profile speakers.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Annual seminar 
Organisation Government of the UK
Department Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Organisation of a series of seminar and academic speakers. We have worked with the commission to provide a policy relevant programme.
Collaborator Contribution Assistance with organising the annual policy seminar particularly in relation to user engagement. The commission have assisted with contacting ministers and key policy speakers as well as inviting key government officials, civil servants and third sector staff to the London policy conference.
Impact This are listed under the seminars
Start Year 2015
 
Description Child Poverty Seminar at Essex University 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The activity brought together a range of speakers to present work on child poverty, its causes and consequences. A link to the programme is below. Attendance was adversely affected by the cancellation of all trains to Essex, due to flooding, on the day of the seminar.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.bath.ac.uk/casp/projects/social_mobility_and_child_poverty/index.html
 
Description Hosting of a regular radio programme 'Policy Matters' on Share Radio UK. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Following on from the seminar series, Matt Dickson was invited to co-host a series of radio programmes on the radio station Share Radio UK. The series is called 'Policy Matters' and each episode engages with issues in contemporary public policy, addressing areas such as social mobility, the costs and benefits of education, inequalities in the labour market, and rising poverty. Each episode considers current government policy, the possible alternatives and where the public policy debate currently is. Along with co-host Franz Buscha (University of Westminster) Matt discusses the ideas, delves into what the academic research has to say, and invites expert guests to provide their insights, helping us to better understand the complexities and constraints facing policy-makers. The first series looked specifically at social mobility in the UK and reported on research from Dickson along with other members of the ESRC seminar series team: Lindsey Macmillan and Paul Gregg have both been interviewed in different episodes of the show.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://www.shareradio.co.uk/podcasts/?pr=Policy+Matters
 
Description Seminar 3: Child Poverty and Social Mobility 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The third seminar in the series, held in London, brought together academics from the UK and abroad (Prof G Duncan) to present the latest evidence on early education and children's outcomes and evidence from the UK on social mobility.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bath.ac.uk/casp/events/
 
Description Seminar Child Poverty and Social Mobility 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This one day event in Bath (April) brought together leading researchers from across the UK to present their work on child poverty and social mobility.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bath.ac.uk/casp/events/
 
Description Seminar at the University of Southampton 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The one-day conference brought together academics and decision makers to help improve our understanding of both the causes and consequences of declining social mobility and child poverty in Britain. Speakers assessed the influence that family change has on these trends and consider how best policy makers might now respond.

By bringing together leading UK experts in the field of family change and inequalities presented a unique opportunity for practitioners, decision makers and academics to come together, assess progress and discuss new ways forward for the benefit of society
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.cpc.ac.uk/events/?action=story&id=475
 
Description Seminar: Child Poverty and Social Mobility Annual conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact We held a one-day conference in Westminster. Keynote speakers included Robert Putnam (Harvard), David Willetts (Resolution Foundation), Sacha Aaronavitch (CEO Grant Thornton) and Gavin Kelly (Resolution Foundation). We had a selected audience of civil servants, third sector organisation, MPs and academics. We had very positive feedback from the event and numerous requests for further information.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://blogs.bath.ac.uk/opinion/2015/10/15/giving-our-children-equal-opportunities/