The University of Bath’s Centre for the Analysis of Social Policy (CASP) was officially relaunched this week at an event held in the University’s London office in Pall Mall.

The Centre – which is a team of researchers from across Departments led by academics in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences – works on issues related to social policy and public health, including some of the major challenges facing society both here in the UK and around the world.

Led by Professor Rachel Forrester-Jones - whose own research focuses on the life course of people with learning disabilities and mental health issues - in addition to social policy experts, the Centre involves academic anthropologists, criminologists and economists, as well researchers in education, the labour market and public health. By working with policymakers and service users, addressing the multi-faceted challenges which face social policy from different angles, the Centre is helping to build a rounded picture on matters of social policy concern in order to propose robust policy solutions.

Wednesday’s launch event, which was officially opened by University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Ian White and chaired by Baroness Judith Jolly, included talks and presentations from academic members spanning the work of the Centre on topics ranging from the influence of AI in policy making, to tackling rising obesity, to reform to the criminal justice system.

Speakers included Professor Jane Millar; Professor Harry Rutter; Professor Rachel Forrester-Jones; Dr Rana Jawad; Dr Emma Carmel; Dr Sarah Moore; and Professor Graham Room. Professor Mark Hammond (visiting Professor of Public Policy at Canterbury, Christchurch) acted as official respondent.

Professor Rachel Forrester-Jones, Director of CASP, said: “This week’s relaunch event marks the start of a new chapter for the Centre, which over the past four decades has made important contributions to a number of public policy debates, in particular on the topic of social mobility and employment.

“Over recent years, exacerbated by the impact of austerity, the challenges faced by policymakers on the topic of social policy have got harder and new issues have emerged. It’s our hope that we can play an important role in helping to inform policy decisions through robust academic research.

“I’d especially like to pay tribute to outgoing Director, Professor Paul Gregg, under whose leadership, work from CASP reached the highest levels of government. Our strength is in the critical mass we can build around key social policy issues that affect both the UK and societies globally. I look forward to working with all colleagues as we build momentum around the work and output from the Centre.”