Emeritus Professor Pete Alcock

Professor Pete Alcock

School of Social Policy
Emeritus Professor of Social Policy and Administration

Contact details

School of Social Policy
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Pete Alcock is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy and Administration in the School of Social Policy.




Pete has been active in teaching and research in social policy for over thirty years. He moved to Birmingham in 1998. He was Head of the Department of Social Policy and Social Work from January 2000 to June 2003, and Head of the School of Social Sciences from July 2003 to September 2008. From September 2008 to April 2014, Pete was Director of the ESRC Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC), a national research resource co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Office for Civil Society (OCS) and the Barrow Cadbury Trust. TSRC continues under the leadership of Professor John Mohan and further information on it can be found on the Centre's website.


  • Third sector policy in the UK, including devolution of policy
  • Qualitative research on the role and structure of third sector organisations
  • Theoretical analysis of civil society and voluntary action
  • Social inclusion and anti-poverty strategy

Other activities

Member of the HEFCE Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) Subpanel 22 Social Work and Social Policy.



Alcock P and Gregory L (2022) Social Policy in Britain, 5th Ed. Bloomsbury. 

Alcock P,  Haux T, May M, and McCall V, Eds. (2022), The Student's Companion to Social Policy (6th Edition), Wiley-Blackwell.

Alcock, P (2016) Why we need welfare: Collective action for the common good, Policy Press.

Alcock, P, May, M and Wright, S (eds) (2012), The Student's Companion to Social Policy (4th Edition), Wiley-Blackwell.

Alcock, P and Powell, M (eds) (2011), Welfare Theory and Development - 4 volume set, Sage Publications.

Alcock, P and Craig, G (eds) (2009) International Social Policy, Palgrave.

Alcock, P (2008) Understanding Poverty, 3rd edition.  Palgrave.

Recent chapters in books

‘Reconstructing Poverty and Social Exclusion: Agency or Structure? The Implications for Policy and Practice in the UK’, in Towards a New Local Welfare: Best Practices and Networks of Social Inclusion, (2015) in P Donati and L Martignani Eds., Bologna Italy: Bononia University Press.

Alcock, P (2013), 'A New Role for the Third Sector?', in Public Services: a New Reform Agenda, in S Griffiths, H Kippin and G Stoker Eds, Bloomsbury.

Alcock, P (2013), 'The Big Society: A New Policy Environment for the Third Sector?' in The Welfare State Reader 3rd Ed, C Pierson, F Castles and U Naumann Eds. Oxford, Wiley.

Alcock, P (2011), 'Voluntary action, New Labour and the 'third sector', in Hilton, M and McKay, J Eds, The Ages of Voluntarism: How we got to the Big Society, Oxford University Press/British Academy.

Alcock, P (2010), 'Devolution or Divergence? UK Third Sector Policy since 2000', in Devolution in Practice, Lodge G and Schmuecker, K Eds, London, IPPR.

Alcock, P (2010)‘What are our future sources of welfare: a new role for the third sector?’, in Grout P and Alcock P (eds), Supply Side Futures for Public Services, 2010 Public Services Trust.

Alcock, P (2010) ‘Devolution or Divergence? UK Third Sector Policy since 2000’, in Devolution in Practice, Lodge G and Schmuecker K (eds), (2010) London, IPPR.

Alcock, P (2008), 'Poverty and Social Exclusion', in Understanding Inequality: Poverty and Wealth: Policies and Prospects, T Ridge and S Wright (eds).  The Policy Press.

Recent refereed journal articles

‘From Partnership to the Big Society: The Third Sector Policy Regime in the UK’, (2016), Nonprofit Policy Forum, online October 2015.

'Start Up and Sustainability: Marketisation and the Social Enterprise Investment Fund in England' with K Hall and R Millar (2012), Journal of Social Policy, Vol 41 No 4 pp 733-749.

'Micro-Mapping: What lies beneath the third sector radar?' with A Soteri-Proctor (2012), Voluntary Sector Review, Vol 3 No 3, pp 379-98.

'From the Third Sector to the Big Society: Consensus or Contention in the 2010 UK General Election?' with J Kendall and J Parry (2012), Voluntary Sector Review, Vol 3 No 3 pp 347-64.

'Reply: Big Society - contradiction or con trick?' (2012), Policy and Politics, Vol. 40(1), pp. 149-51.

'Legislating for the Big Society? The case of the Public Services (Social Value) Bill' with S Teasdale and G Smith (2012), Public Money and Management, Vol. 32 (3), pp. 201-9.

'New Policy Spaces: the Impact of Devolution on Third Sector Policy in the UK' (2012), Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 46 (2), pp. 219-38.

'Constituting the Third Sector: Processes of Decontestation and Contention under the UK Labour Governments in England', with Kendall, J (2011), Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organisations, Vol. 22 (3), pp. 450-469.

‘A strategic unity: defining the third sector in the UK’, (2010) Voluntary Sector Review, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp.5-24

‘Building the Big Society: A New Policy Environment for the Third Sector in England’ (2010) Voluntary Sector Review, Vol. 1 no. 3, pp. 381-91

Follow this link for further publications from Professor Pete Alcock (pdf; 122KB; opens in new window)