The mission of the School of Social Policy is to ‘understand the world – but also to change it’. This means doing high quality and relevant research, but using this as a starting point for making a practical difference in the real world (through our teaching, through professional training and CPD for managers and practitioners, through policy advice and work in front-line services, through raising public and media awareness and through working directly alongside local people and communities).
In turning this mission into practice, we are proud of our many achievements, including running the UK's oldest social work training programme (dating back to 1908, our multiple award-winning NHS Management Training Scheme, the relationships we have with local partners in the public and voluntary sectors, and our leading role in the largest senior leadership development programmes in the history of the health service.
More than three quarters of our research is rated as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' in terms of its rigour, significance and originality, and we have extensive international links with like-minded partners at Harvard, Melbourne, Peking, Vancouver, Seoul and beyond.
The School is made up of two departments, the Department of Social Policy and Social Work, and the Health Services Management Centre, and organises its research work into a series of multi-disciplinary research centres:
How we work
The day-to-day work and the future development of the School is co-ordinated by a School Management Team. Each year we will be working with leadership and OD colleagues to explore how well we operate as a Team, and we have approached our social care colleagues to see if members of the Team could volunteer as mentors for young people looked after by the Local Authority.
To supplement the work of SMT, a broader School Futures Group is tasked with helping us to think through:
- The longer term aspirations of the School
- What makes us distinctive
- How we want to work together in future
Both groups have worked together to produce the School's strategy for 2015-2020, which aims to help us ensure we are recognised as one of the top 5 units of our kind in the country. There are three particularly important elements of this challenging target:
- Our performance in all areas is already strong and this will need to be sustained.
- A key challenge is 'being recognised' as one of the leading units (not just 'being' in the top 5) and this is arguably as much about internal and external profile as it is the actual level of performance.
- When we want to be one of the top 5 units 'of our kind', we have choices about what kind of School we want to be. This makes our commitment to 'understanding the world, and changing it', even more important, as we need to judge how well we are doing against this mission.