Professor Catherine Needham

Professor Catherine Needham

Health Services Management Centre
Professor of Public Policy and Public Management

Contact details

Address
School of Social Policy, HSMC
Park House
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2RT

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
  • Interpretive approaches to public policy

Qualifications

  • DPhil Politics, Nuffield College, Oxford (2004)
  • MSc Politics Research, Nuffield College, Oxford (1999)
  • BA (Hons) in Politics and Parliamentary Studies, University of Leeds (1996)

Biography

Catherine Needham graduated from the University of Leeds in 1996, and worked for political strategist Philip Gould prior to undertaking an MSc (1999) and DPhil (2004) at Nuffield College, Oxford. She worked in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London from 2003 to 2012. She joined the University of Birmingham in 2012 as a Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Public Management.

Catherine’s research focuses on reform of public services, with particular emphasis on the introduction of consumerist models of service delivery. She is interested in the relative role of quasi-markets and consumer-centred models of decision-making compared to those based on notions of citizenship and publicness. Taking an interpretive approach to policy analysis, she has examined the different ‘narratives of consumerism' contained within recent welfare reforms in the UK , drawing on content analysis of government documents and interviews with policy makers, service users and staff.

Her most recent work has focused on the personalisation of public services, with a particular interest in social care services, examining the relationship between the meta-narrative of personalisation and the frontline practice of service redesign. She is also interested in individualised budgets within public services, and the dynamics through which they reshape service provision. She is also exploring how policy ideas and mechanisms spread across different service sectors, using theories of policy transfer and translation.

Catherine also has an interest in public service workforce change, exploring how the roles, skills and values of public service workers are changing. Her research on the 21st Century Public Servant has been widely used within training for the public service workforce. 

Postgraduate supervision

Catherine would welcome PhD students interested in aspects of the following: 

  • Social care systems
  • Personalisation and coproduction in social care
  • Public service reform, focused on the UK, or putting the UK in comparative perspective. 

Research

Catherine is involved in the following research:

Previous projects (since joining University of Birmingham)

  • Does Smaller Mean Better? Evaluating micro-enterprises in adult social care (2013)
  • AHRC Connected Communities Policy Review – ‘Connecting research with communities: redefining service delivery’ (2012-13)
  • Social Care Institute for Excellence: commissioned to undertake an evidence review and prepare evidence tables for a Research Briefing on co-production in adult social care (2013)
  • Care Watch: Evaluating lay inspectors for home care (2012)

Publications

Recent publications

Book

Needham, C, Allen, K & Hall, K 2016, Micro-enterprises and Personalisation: What size is good care? Policy Press. <https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/micro-enterprise-and-personalisation>

Article

Henwood, M, McKay, S, Glasby, J & Needham, C 2020, 'Self-funders: still by-standers in the English social care system?', Social Policy and Society.

Glasby, J & Needham, C 2020, 'The neglect of adult social care during covid-19', BMJ, vol. 370, pp. m3103. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3103

Hall, K, Needham, C & Allen, K 2019, 'Micro entrepreneurship in the care sector: motives, values and practices', Voluntary Sector Review, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 311–328. https://doi.org/10.1332/204080519X15738068469662

Gofen, A, Blomqvist, P, Needham, C, Warren, K & Winblad, U 2019, 'Negotiated compliance at the street level: Personalizing immunization in England, Israel and Sweden', Public Administration, vol. 97, no. 1, pp. 195-209. https://doi.org/10.1111/padm.12557

Allen, K, Needham, C, Hall, K & Tanner, D 2019, 'Participatory research meets validated outcome measures: tensions in the co-production of social care evaluation', Social Policy and Administration, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 311-325. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12468

Needham, C 2018, 'Best of Both Worlds; Comment on "(Re) Making the Procrustean Bed? Standardization and Customization as Competing Logics in Healthcare"', International Journal of Health Policy and Management , vol. 7, no. 4, 11, pp. 356-358. https://doi.org/10.15171/ijhpm.2017.99

Glasby, J, Needham, C, Allen, K, Hall, K & McKay, S 2018, 'The Goldilocks Question: What Size is 'Just Right' for Social Care Providers?', International Journal of Care and Caring, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 65-87. https://doi.org/10.1332/239788218X15187913719956

Needham, C & Dickinson, H 2017, ''Any one of us could be among that number': Comparing the policy narratives for individualized disability funding in Australia and England', Social Policy and Administration. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12320

Needham, C, Mastracci, S & Mangan, C 2017, 'The emotional labour of boundary spanning', Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 288-300. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICA-04-2017-0008

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Needham, C 2019, Managerial Discretion. in T Evans & P Hupe (eds), Discretion and the Quest for Controlled Freedom. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 295-312. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-19566-3_19

Chapter

Needham, C, Mangan, C, Bottom, K & Parker, S 2020, Elected Officials in an Era of Austerity: Stewards, Mediators, and Catalysts. in H Sullivan, H Dickinson & H Henderson (eds), The Palgrave Handbook of the Public Servant. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-03008-7_18-1

Needham, C 2016, Social Care. in E Denny (ed.), Sociology for Nurses . Polity Press.

Commissioned report

Needham, C, Allen, K, Burn, E, Hall, K, Mangan, C, Al-Janabi, H, Tahir, W, Carr, S, Glasby, J, Henwood, M, McKay, S & Brant, I 2020, Shifting Shapes: how can local care markets support personalised outcomes?.

Editorial

Bevir, M, Needham, C & Waring, J 2019, 'Inside co-production: ruling, resistance, and practice', Social Policy and Administration, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 197-202. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12483

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

  • Social care reform
  • Personalisation/personal budgets
  • Coproduction and citizen involvement in public services Public service workforce

Expertise

Health and Social care

Social care in the UK for older people and people with disabilities