The team at the newly created Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice (I4P) have been asked to lead the project, which is being funded by the Webb Memorial Trust, and will present its final report next year.
Paul Bunyan from the University’s Social Science Department is the Principal Investigator and he is working with Professor John Diamond from the Business School at Edge Hill.
Professor Diamond, leading the project, said: “The research commissioned by the Webb Memorial Trust is the first of what we hope will be many research projects carried out by the I4P along with our existing work supporting the not-for-profit sector and local, regional and national Voluntary and Community Sector organisations.”
The primary area of enquiry for the team will focus on the work of the locally based and led ‘fairness commissions’.
Over the past three years, commissions looking into poverty and inequality have been set up in a number of cities and local authorities across the UK. Researchers will look at a number of different aspects about these commissions and seek to assess both their impact locally and on public policy at a national level.
The second focus will be on civil society approaches to alleviating poverty and challenging inequality.
Paul Bunyan said: “The period of austerity brought on by the banking collapse and global financial crisis of recent years has raised important questions about human agency and the extent to which people in their localities and institutions can in any way challenge or resist such structural forces. In the face of very challenging economic and social conditions, increasing attention has turned towards civil society both in terms of its potential to ameliorate the effects of the crisis and to offer positive solutions to alleviating poverty and challenging inequality. The study will look at approaches and strategies adopted, problems and issues encountered, stories and examples of initiatives making a difference to the lives of people and their communities across the UK.”
As part of the research, a meeting with representatives from the various commissions across the country will take place in Parliament later in the year and a meeting with civil society representatives will take place in Parliament early in 2014