Professor Martin Powell

Professor Martin Powell

Health Services Management Centre
Professor of Health and Social Policy

Contact details

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

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.


His main qualifications are:

  • PhD ('Access to Primary Health Care in London'), University of London (1987)
  • BA (Hons) Human Geography, University of Reading (1983)


Martin has worked at the Universities of Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Portsmouth, Bath and Stirling.  He is the Editor of 'Social Policy and Administration'. He lectures on the PhD programme at Institute of Governance, University of Maastricht. He is on the Editorial Advisory Board for 'Policy Press' and he has given keynote speeches at events in Italy and South Africa.

Management Experience: 

  • Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer, School of Social Policy (from 1 September 2013)
  • Director of Research, HSMC
  • Acting Postgraduate Lead, HSMC
  • MSc Dissertation co-lead, HSMC
  • Director of Postgraduate Students, School of Public Policy (2007-8)
  • Research Leader for Social Sciences at University of Hertfordshire; Chair of Department of Social and Policy Sciences Research Committee at University of Bath; and Research Director for Department of Applied Social Science at University of Stirling
  • Chief Examiner for Department of Applied Social Sciences, University of Stirling


  • Taught at undergraduate and postgraduate level at a number of Universities, with main contributions on ‘Introduction to Social Policy’, ‘Health and Health Policy’, and ‘Policy Evaluation’

Current teaching:

  • MSc: Health and Health Care Policy; MSc short course: Policy Evaluation; MTS Dissertation Workshop Supervisor


His major research interests are:

  • History of health policy
  • Geography of public service provision
  • Theoretical Developments in the Welfare State
  • Public Sector Partnerships
  • Equality in the Welfare State
  • Decentralisation of public provision
  • Consumerism and Citizenship
  • Health care workforce issues

Principal Research Grants:

  • Staff Satisfaction and Organisational Performance: Evidence from the NHS Staff Survey (with J. Dawson, University of Sheffield), 2012 – 2013. NIHR HS&DR
  • What works in inclusive leadership? (with N Johns, University of Plymouth; A Mulla, University of Birmingham, J. Smith, Nuffield trust and A. Gregory), 2010. NHS III
  • Talent Management in the NHS Managerial Workforce (with HSMC and Business School colleagues, and Dr M. Exworthy, and Dr F. Macfarlane), 2009 – 2011. NHSSDO
  • Management Practice in Healthcare Organisations (led by Dr I Greener, Durham), 2009- 2010. NHSSDO
  • Evaluating the impact of the health reforms in England (with colleagues at HSMC and King’s Fund), 2007 – 2010. Department of Health Policy Research Programme
  • Decentralisation and performance: autonomy and incentives in local health economies (with M. Exworthy, S Peckham, I Greener, P Anand and J Holloway), 2006 – 2009. NHSSDO
  • Modes of Consumption in the UK Welfare State (with I. Greener, York), 2004 – 2006. ESRC
  • Centralisation, decentralisation and devolution in publicly funded health services (with S. Peckham, M. Exworthy, Oxford Brookes; I. Greener, York), 2004. NHSSDO
  • Partnerships- reviewing the evidence (with C. Glendinning, York, B. Dowling, Manchester), 2003 – 2004. NPCRDC (University of Manchester)
  • Municipal medicine in inter-war England (with J. Stewart, History, Oxford Brookes), 2002 - 2005. Wellcome Trust
  • Understanding Health Variations and Policy Variations (with M Exworthy, LSE), 1998 – 2000. ESRC
  • The moving frontier: municipal and voluntary hospitals in interwar Britain (with J. Mohan), 1998 – 1999. Leverhulme Trust
  • The historical geography of the voluntary hospital system in Britain, 1890-1947 (with J. Mohan, Dept of Geography, University of Portsmouth), 1996 - 1998. Leverhulme Trust
  • The politics of local government finance: who gets what where? (with G. Boyne, Business School, University of Wales, Cardiff), 1995 – 1997. Leverhulme Trust

Other activities

  • Review Editor, ‘Social Policy and Administration’, 2003-2005
  • Editor, ‘Social Policy and Administration’, 2005-2012
  • Martin was a member of the EU COST A 15 programme on reforming social protection systems
  • He has been a co-organiser of the European Consortium for Political Research workshop on 'Third Ways in Europe', co-organiser of European Social Policy Network Conference strand on the history of social policy, and a referee for projects for the R&D Office in Northern Ireland, and the Prime Minister's Office, Belgium
  • At Bath Martin was nominated for the University Teaching Award in 2003 - 2004


Powell M, Mannion R (2017)  A NICE Success Story from the English National Health Service, in Braithwaite J, Mannion R, Matsuyama Y, Shekelle P, Whittaker S, Al-Adawi S, eds. (2017) Health Systems Improvement Across the Globe:  Success Stories from 60 Countries. Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis, pp 139-146. 

Exworthy, M., Mannion, R. and Powell, M. (2016) Dismantling the NHS? Evaluating the impact of health reforms. Policy Press: University of Bristol.

Bochel, H. and Powell, M. (eds) (2015) The Coalition government and social policy.  Bristol, The Policy Press.

Powell, M and Miller, R (2015), Seventy Years of Privatizing the British National Health Service? Social Policy & Administration.

Powell, M. (2015) Who Killed the English National Health Service? International Journal of Health Policy and Management, Available online from 23 March 2015

Powell, M. and Johns, N. (2015) Realising the Business Case for Diversity: A Realist Perspective on the British National Health Service. Social Policy and Society, 14, pp 161-173. doi:10.1017/S1474746414000025.

Powell, M (2015) Making Markets in the English National Health Service. Social Policy and Administration, 49:109-127. doi:10.1111/spol.12080

Powell, M and Johns, N (2015) Realising the Business Case for Diversity: A Realist Perspective on the British National Health Service. Social Policy and Society, 14 pp 161-173. DOI: 10.1017/S1474746414000025.

Greener, I, Harrington, B, Hunter, D, Mannion, R and Powell, M (2014), Reforming healthcare: What's the evidence? Bristol: Policy Press.

McLeod, H. Millar, R. Goodwin, N. and Powell, M. (2014) Perspectives on the policy ‘black box’: a comparative case study of orthopaedic services in England, Health Economics, Policy and Law. Available on CJO 2014 DOI: 10.1017/S1744133114000048

Johns, N., MacBride-Stewart, S., Powell, M. and Green, A. (2014) When is positive action not positive action? Exploring the conceptual meaning and implications of the tie-break criterion in the UK Equality Act 2010, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, 33(1): 97-113.

Powell, M. (2014) A Re-Specification of the Welfare State: Conceptual Issues in ‘The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Social Policy and Society, doi:10.1017/S1474746414000529.

Powell, M, Dawson, J, Topakas, A, Durose, J and Fewtrell, C (2014), Staff satisfaction and organisational performance: Evidence from a longitudinal secondary analysis of the NHS staff survey and outcome data. Health Services and Delivery Research: 2(50).

Powell, M (2014) Health Economics, Policy and Law, Available on CJO 2014 doi:10.1017/S1744133114000395

Powell, M. (2014) Making Markets in the English National Health Service, Social Policy & Administration, DOI: 10.1111/spol.12080.

Powell, M. and Kim, K.-t. (2014) The ‘Chameleon’ Korean Welfare Regime. Social Policy & Administration, 48: 626–646. doi: 10.1111/spol.12088.

Powell, M. and Miller, R. (2014) Framing Privatisation in the English National Health Service. Journal of Social Policy, available on CJO2014. doi:10.1017/S0047279414000269.

Powell, M. (2014) “Neo-Republican citizenship and the British National Health Service since 1979” In Huisman, F. and Oosterhuis, H. (eds.) Health and Citizenship: political cultures of health in modern Europe. London: Pickering & Chatto Publishers. pp.177-190

Powell, M. and Johns, N. (2014) Realising the Business Case for Diversity: A Realist Perspective on the British National Health Service . Social Policy and Society, Available on CJO 2014 DOI: 10.1017/S1474746414000025.

Powell M, Johns N and Green A (2013) Equal Opportunities and Diversity: Exploring the Relevance of Le Grand’s Models of Service Provision. Social Policy & Society, 12 (4): 495–505

Powell, M. And Miller, R. (2013), Privatizing the English National Health Service: An Irregular Verb? Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. DOI:10.1215/03616878-2334918

Powell M, Duberley J, Exworthy M, Macfarlane F & Moss P (2013) ‘Has the British National Health Service (NHS) got talent? A process evaluation of the NHS talent management strategy?’. Policy Studies, DOI:10.1080/01442872.2013.798533.

Powell, M (2013)‘Horizontal Subsidiarity in Lombardy and UK. Decentralisation, Partnership, and Governance of Welfare’ in A. Brugnoli and A. Colombo (eds) Government, Governance And Welfare Reform. Structural Changes and Subsidiarity in Italy and Britain, Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, 2013.

Millar, R, Powell, M and Dixon, A (2012), What was the programme theory of New Labour's Health System Reforms? Journal of Health Service Research Policy, Vol 17(1), Jan 2012.

Powell, M, Millar, R, Mulla, A, Brown, H and Fewtrell, C (HSMC), McLeod, H (Health Economics Unit, University of Birmingham), Goodwin, N, Dixon, A and Naylor, C (The King's Fund) (2010), Comparative case studies of health reform in England (Report submitted to the Department of Health Policy Research Programme (PRP).

Powell M, Greener, I, Szmigin, I, Doheny, S and Mills, N (2010 Broadening the focus of public service consumerism, Public Management Review, 12(3), 323-339., 12(3), 323-339.

Powell M (2007) Understanding the Mixed Economy of Welfare (ed) Policy Press(ed) Policy Press

Powell M, Simmons R, Birchall J, Doheny S (2007) ‘Citizen Governance’, Policy and Politics, 35(3): 457-78, 35(3): 457-78

Powell M, Taylor B, Stewart J (2007) Central and local government and the provision of municipal medicine, 1919-1939, English Historical Review, 122: 397-426, 122: 397-426

Powell M, Levene A, Stewart J (2006) The development of Municipal General hospitals in English County Boroughs in the 1930s, Medical History, 50: 3-28, 50: 3-28

Powell M (2006) Social Policy and Administration: journal and discipline, Social Policy and Administration, 40(3): 233-49

Powell M (2005) Coasts and coalfields: the geographical distribution of doctors in England and Wales in the 1930s’, Social History of Medicine, 18(2): 245-263, 18(2): 245-263

Powell M, Glendinning C, Dowling B (2005) Partnerships between health and social acre under ‘New labour’: smoke without fire? A review of policy and evidence,Evidence and Policy, 1(3): 365-381, 1(3): 365-381

Powell M, Peckham S, Exworthy M, Greener I (2005) Decentralising health services, Public Money and Management, 25(4): 221-8t, 25(4): 221-8.

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