Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Research in Social Policy

Centre staff

About Professor Donald Hirsch

I have spent over 35 years analysing social policy in the UK and internationally – as a journalist, OECD official, consultant to public organisations and charities, and an academic.  From 1998 to 2008, prior to joining CRSP, I was Poverty Adviser to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and played a leading national role in monitoring Labour’s welfare reforms and efforts to cut child poverty.

At CRSP I lead the Minimum Income Standard research, which produces on-going studies of what people need for an acceptable standard of living.  By combining this evidence with associated studies of life on a low income and evidence from large surveys, our team is well placed to show the impact of turbulent economic times and changing welfare policies on the ability of low income families to live adequately.  This allows me to produce regular commentary on policies as they unfold, and to make calculations influencing the national debate: in particular, I work closely with the Resolution Foundation to help calculate the Living Wage based on our research, make an annual assessment of the cost of a child and advise the growing number of charities who are using our research as a benchmark against which to give grants to households facing hardship.

My commentaries on social policy can be found on the CRSP blog and via Twitter

Recent Publications

About Abigail Davis

Prior to joining CRSP I worked as a researcher for the BBC, and came to Loughborough in 1998. Since 2006 I have specialised in budget standards, as part of the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) team.  I lead the qualitative element and the budget compilation process for the core MIS programme. Using MIS as a starting point, my research has included looking at the additional and different costs of people in various locations, including households living in rural communities in England and Scotland, London and the States of Guernsey, and studies on the needs of foster carers and people living with sensory impairments.

I design and deliver training in MIS methods for researchers in other countries, including work with teams on MIS projects in Austria, France, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, South Africa, Mexico, Singapore and Thailand.

My main research interests include lifestyles and living standards, poverty, inequality and social exclusion, budget standards and income adequacy.

Recent Publications

Padley, M., Davis, A., Shepherd, C. and Stone, J. (2019) A Minimum Income Standard for London 2018. London: Trust for London.


About Katherine Hill

Since joining CRSP in 2001 my research has focussed predominantly on qualitative projects. Most of my research has been in the area of welfare policy, disadvantaged groups and low income with a particular interest in the perspectives of people themselves. I have worked on DWP policy evaluations including NDDP and LHA, and qualitative research on ageing looking at the needs and experiences of older people.  This included managing the Resources in Later Life project for JRF and Living on a Low Income in Later Life for Age UK. My more recent work has drawn on our Minimum Income Standards research to look at the additional needs and costs that some people face, and the experiences of those whose income falls below the MIS level. This includes a series of studies for Thomas Pocklington Trust exploring the additional costs of visual impairment for different age groups and what this means for everyday life, and a JRF funded longitudinal qualitative study looking at the experiences of families on living on a low income.

Recent Publications

About Matt Padley

I studied sociology at Manchester and Nottingham Universities before joining Loughborough in 2003. Working in the Institute of Youth Sport between 2003 and 2009, I developed an interest in social policy, specifically how policy is delivered within, impacts upon and is shaped at the local level. I joined CRSP in 2009 and I have conducted research across a range of different policy areas. In recent years I have led research developing, and subsequently updating a Minimum Income Standard for London. I am involved across the Minimum Income Standards (MIS) programme, leading the annual analysis of Households below a Minimum Income Standard and the quantitative elements of the MIS programme.

Over the last year, I have developed and led work, in collaboration with teams in Mexico and South Africa, exploring the application of the MIS method in the global south. These collaborations continue and I am also currently working with teams in Singapore and Thailand on Minimum Income Standard projects.

My research interests focus on understanding the patterns, causes and consequences of social disadvantage, particularly with regard to income. My research has included work on living standards and income adequacy, housing affordability, poverty measurement and international conceptions of living standards.

Recent Publications

About Dr Claire Shepherd

I was awarded my PhD in Social Statistics in May 2015 from the University of Manchester. Prior to this I gained an MSc in Sociological Research and a First Class degree in Sociology both at the University of Manchester. Before starting my doctoral studies I worked for a year as a research assistant at the European Work and Employment Research Centre (EWERC) at the University of Manchester, where I contributed to a European Commission funded project exploring minimum wages and collective bargaining across Europe. I also contributed to a European Commission Network of Excellence project investigating women’s representation across the boards of UK listed companies. My PhD research focused on an investigation of gender role attitude changes and a comparison of welfare state policies across 19 European countries using three waves of the European Values Study (1990 to 2008).

After completing my PhD, I worked for more than two years as a researcher at the International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) at the University of Derby. While at iCeGS, I conducted a wide range of applied quantitative and qualitative research exploring themes around career education and employability.

I joined CRSP in August 2017 and will be supporting the core Minimum Income Standards programme as well as contributing to a qualitative project funded by the Thomas Pocklington Trust examining Minimum Income Standards for people with visual impairment.

My research interests are broad ranging but tend to coalesce around inequality: including gender role inequalities in the home and workplace; comparative social policies and welfare states; wage inequalities; and career development and employability. 

Recent Publications

  • Padley, M., Davis, A., Shepherd, C. and Stone, J. (2019) A Minimum Income Standard for London 2018. London: Trust for London.
  • Davis, A., Hirsch, D., Padley, M. and Shepherd, C. (2018) A Minimum Income Standard for the UK, 2008-2018: continuity and change.  York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
  • Hill, K., Shepherd, C. and Hirsch, D. (2018) Experiences of Living with Visual Impairment: matching income with needs ‌Loughborough: Centre for Research in Social Policy.
  • Shepherd, C. (2017) ‘The gender and age profile of the house-building sector’, Milton Keynes: NHBC Foundation.
  • Adams, L., Tindle, A., Basran, S., Dobie, S., Thomson, D., Robinson, D. and Shepherd, C. (2017) ‘Experiences of Education, Health and Care plans. A survey of parents and young people. Research report March 2017’. London: Department for Education
  • Shepherd, C. and Hooley, T. (2016) ‘They’ve got their backs to the sea’: Careers work in Kent’s coastal schools. Derby: International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby.
  • Artess, J. and Shepherd, C. (2016). ‘H.E. Careers & Employability Services’ use of resources: Summary report’. Derby: International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby.
  • Hooley, T., Shepherd, C. and Dodd, V. (2015). ‘Get yourself connected: conceptualising the role of digital technologies in Norwegian career guidance’. Derby: International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby
  • Shepherd, C. and Elliot, M. (2015) ‘Deriving a measure of gender role attitudes using data from the European Values Study’, University of Manchester: CMIST Working Paper, October 2015.
  • Teasdale, N., Fagan, C. and Shepherd, C. (2012) ‘Women’s representation on the boards of UK listed companies’ in C. Fagan, M. Gonzales Menendez and S. Gomez Anson (Eds.) ‘Women in Management: European Employment Policy’, London: Palgrave Ltd.
  • Grimshaw, D., Shepherd, C. and Rubery, J. (2010) ‘Minimum wage systems and changing industrial relations in Europe: National UK Report’ report prepared for VS/2009/0159 (EWERC, University of Manchester) for the European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

About Dr Juliet Stone

I completed my doctoral research in 2009 at Imperial College, London where I investigated the measurement of life-course socioeconomic position and its relationship with health outcomes. I also hold an MSC in Social Research Methods with Statistics from City University, London and a BA in Media Studies from the University of Sussex.

In 2009 I joined the ESRC Centre for Population Change (CPC) as a Research Fellow, where my work involved quantitative analysis of large, cross-sectional and longitudinal datasets such as the Labour Force Survey, the English Survey of Housing, Understanding Society (the UK Household Longitudinal Study), and the General Household Survey. I worked on a variety of CPC projects including work on leaving and returning home in young adulthood in the UK and transitions to living alone in later life. I also investigated women’s economic activity over the life course as a predictor of health in later life and a project examining the role of economic uncertainty in predicting the fertility behaviour of men and women. During this period, I developed a particular interest in housing policy and the ways in which this can affect the choices and constraints people face in various aspects of their lives.

I joined CRSP in June 2018. My work is focussed mainly on quantitative analysis, including analysing data from the Family Resources Survey for the annual Households Below a Minimum Income Standard report. However, I have also been involved in aspects of the qualitative programme of work, including supporting the collection of focus group data for calculation of the  Minimum Income Standard for London

My research interests stem from a broad focus on understanding the consequences of differential socioeconomic circumstances from a life course perspective. More specifically, my interests include family and household dynamics; health inequalities and the social implications of housing policy. I also have an ongoing interest in longitudinal research methods.

Recent Publications

About Lisa Jones

I provide administrative support for the Centre’s projects. This includes general administration tasks such as formatting reports, documents and presentations as well as managing the diaries of the research team. Project administration includes booking travel and accommodation, arranging meetings and advisory groups when required and organising all requirements for any fieldwork taking place.

I am also responsible for the day to day finances of the Centre and its projects.

About Nicola Lomax

I have worked at CRSP since 2000 and provide administrative support the centre’s projects. This includes general administration tasks such as formatting reports, documents and presentations as well as managing the diaries of the research team. With regards to project administration, this can include booking travel and accommodation, arranging meetings and advisory groups when required and organising all requirements for any fieldwork taking place.

I am also responsible for the Centre's publicity, in the form of updating the centre’s website, Twitter and Facebook pages.


Centre for Research
in Social Policy

Department of Social Sciences
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

+44 (0)1509 223372