Policy, Reform and Analysis

Our work in this area includes both research for policy and research of policy, from the national/ system level to the organisational level. In particular, we focus on the stages of health policy including policy formulation, implementation and evaluation.

In our policy work, we collaborate with a range of regional and national health and care organisations in the statutory, voluntary and private sectors, in order to maximise the impact and reach of this activity.

HSMC seeks constantly to act as a bridge between research and practice. Our policy work is a key part of this process, and includes:

  • research-based workshops and seminars for senior NHS leaders;
  • briefings on new and emerging policy ideas;
  • round table research discussions for policy makers;
  • analytical support and advice to health service organisations; and
  • regular series of Viewpoint articles on current health and social care topics on the HSMC website. 

Contact: Russell Mannion

Our research

Current and recent research projects include:

Children and young people’s mental health trailblazer project (BRACE evaluation)

Early Implementation of Primary Care Networks  (BRACE evaluation)

Integrated care and support pioneers programme evaluation (2015-2020)

Phronesis and the medical community (2015-2018)

Decommissioning in health care: The view of patients, service users, carers and the public (2015-2017)

Understanding employee whistleblowing in health care (2015 - 2017)


HSMC has been involved in research into the historical and recent use of inquiries in the NHS and other health systems.  This has included events with the Health Foundation and a special issue of the journal Political Quarterly focussing on these themes and bringing together academic and policy partners. Publications include:

Parliamentary Debates on the Anniversaries of the British National Health Service 1958-2008: ‘plus ca change?’, The Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique (fc)

‘Inquiries in the British National Health Service’, Political Quarterly, 1-5, 2019

 ‘Learning from NHS Inquiries: comparing the Recommendations of the Ely, Bristol and Mid Staffordshire Inquiries’, Political Quarterly, 2019

‘Seventy years of the British National Health Service: problem, politics and policy streams’, Health Economics Policy and Law, 14(1): 29-39, 2019.

‘The lost worlds of royal commissions in the NHS: The unaccountable in pursuit of the unanswerable?’, Teaching Public Administration, 1-19, 2019.

 ‘Aneurin Bevan’s long shadow over 70 years of the British National Health Service’, Health Services Management Review, 31(2): 106-109, 2018

 ‘Exploring 70 Years of the British National Health Service through Anniversary Documents’, Int J Health Policy Manag, 7(7): 574-580, 2018.

 The Americanization of the British National Health Service: A typological approach (with Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan), Health Policy, 122(7): 775-782, 2018

Members of the policy, reform and analysis theme

Professor Mark Exworthy

Professor Mark Exworthy

Professor of Health Policy and Management

Mark is a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham.

Dr Nicola Gale

Dr Nicola Gale

Reader in Health Sociology and Policy
College Director of Postgraduate Research

Nicola Gale, MA, PhD, is a health sociologist, with a track record in both single-discipline sociological research and interdisciplinary health research where she has brought her sociological perspective and skills to projects in fields of health services research, public health, primary care, community-led and complementary health care.

Dr Gale is committed to theoretically-informed empirical ...

Professor Russell Mannion

Professor Russell Mannion

Professor of Health Systems

 Russell has held the Chair in Health Systems at the University of Birmingham since 2010.  He is an Honorary Professor at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, Sydney and a Fellow of Bocconi University, Milan. He was previously Director of the Centre for Health Services Management at the University of York (2005-2009) and served as a Board Director of ...

Dr Ross Millar

Dr Ross Millar

Senior Lecturer

Ross is a Senior Lecturer with interests in the organisation and governance of healthcare. His research analyses the experiences and dynamics of quality and safety, partnerships and collaboration, and hybrid organisational forms.

Ross is a Programme Director for the Level 7 Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship. He also teaches across a range of HSMC programmes in relation to quality and safety, ...

Professor Catherine Needham

Professor Catherine Needham

Professor of Public Policy and Public Management

Catherine Needham is Professor of Public Policy and Public Management. She is based at the Health Services Management Centre, developing research around social care and new approaches to public service workforce development.

Catherine’s areas of special interest include:

  • Personalisation and coproduction within public services
  • Social care reform
  • Workforce change in public services
  • Inte ...

Professor Martin Powell

Professor Martin Powell

Professor of Health and Social Policy

Martin joined HSMC in February 2007. Martin specialises in: Health policy, especially New Labour; choice and consumerism; decentralization; partnership and history of health care before the NHS and social policy, especially historical and geographical dimensions, citizenship, equity, theories of welfare state development.

Professor Judith Smith

Professor Judith Smith

Professor of Health Policy and Management
Director of the Health Services Management Centre

Judith Smith is Professor of Health Policy and Management, and Director of the Health Services Management Centre, having taken up this role in 2015. She is also Director of the BRACE Rapid Evaluation Centre funded by the National Institute of Health Research for five years (2018-2023) and involving the University of Birmingham, University of Cambridge, RAND Europe, and National Voices. 


Iain Snelling

Iain Snelling

Senior Fellow

Iain specialises in teaching, consultancy and research in management and leadership development in the NHS, service evaluation and improvement, clinical engagement in management and leadership. From 2011 – 2013 he was co-Director of the educational element of the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme and the NHS Clinical Leadership Fellows programme, and from 2012-2015 he was ...

Dr Iestyn Williams

Dr Iestyn Williams

Reader in Health Policy and Management
Director of Research

Iestyn is a Reader in Health Policy and Management and HSMC Director of Research. He is involved in a range of research, teaching and knowledge transfer work and has a broad methodological experience and expertise. He specialises in social science approaches to Health Services Research, employing mixed methods study designs. He has specific expertise in: priority setting, decision making and ...


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