Professor Francis Davis BA MSc MPA FRGS

Professor Francis Davis

Department of Theology and Religion
Professor of Religion, Communities and Public Policy
Director of Policy, Edward Cadbury Centre

I work at the intersection of business, civil society, and central and local governments. I am especially keen to hear from others interested in communities with complex challenges, globalising cities, island/landlocked economies and SADCC countries. I am Chair of Finance and non-exec director for an NHS Trust, a retained advisor to CIPFA’s consultancy, Co-Chaired the Mayor of West Midlands Faith and Social Cohesion Summit and am Director of Public Policy for the Edward Cadbury Centre where I lead the MA in Religion, Politics and Society.

Qualifications

  • BA Theology & Social Policy (Durham, 1989)
  • MSc International Politics of Asia and Africa (SOAS, 1997)
  • PGCert Voluntary Sector Management (Southampton, 2001)
  • MPA Public and Voluntary Sector Administration (Warwick, 2004)

Fellow Royal Geographical Society, Linnean Society, Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered Management Institute, Royal Society of Arts.

Biography

Professor Davis previously taught social sciences at Oxford (where he held a Fellowship), at Cambridge and at a number of business schools, where his mid-career students included mayoral candidates in major Southeast Asian cities, advisors to Presidential candidates in the Global South, leaders in the refugee and UN sectors and those now in the leadership of Apple and Nominet as well as of major religious communities. He has advised at the UK cabinet level. His research has been debated by parliament and has been described as ‘formidable’ and ‘ground breaking’ by the Conservative and Labour frontbenches and ‘fascinating and important’ and ‘remarkable’ by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Heavily involved in inter-religious and mainstream collaborations around poverty reduction and enterprise, he co- chaired the Mayor of West Midlands Faith and Cohesion steering group and regional summit, having previously directed the Mayor of London’s inter-faith conference.

He has been ranked as among the 100 most influential British Catholics by The Tablet and described by the UK Catholic Herald as ‘the Clark Kent of British Catholicism'! That said he has published print and broadcast journalism, letters, and several studies of leadership (failure), governance (weakness), resource (mis)use and transparency (failure) by Catholic and other religious and civil society institutions.

He holds enhanced DBS (child protection) and fit and proper persons clearances in his role as a non-executive director in the NHS and a governor in the FE Sector. A successful social entrepreneur and journalist on social innovation he has invented, founded or co-founded over forty social ventures addressing pressing social challenges attracting millions in investment and revenues, creating hundreds of jobs and supporting  thousands of clients.

His media contributions include work for BBC World, BBC 1 TV, BBC Radio 4 The World Tonight, Straits Times, US Public Radio and The Economist.

A Zambian by birth with long standing interests in Southern Africa, he has served on commissions and projects of the Erste Foundation, Mercy Corps International,Caritas International, the Buncher Inter-Faith Conference and with initiatives supporting Bosnian rape victims.

Postgraduate supervision

  • Faith based social action, innovation, social enterprise, NGO's, philanthropy and politics
  • Topics associated with religion and public policy
  • Catholic studies,  especially Caritas studies
  • Religion, faith, severe mental ill health, disability and inclusion
  • The role of advisors, public intellectuals politicians, activists and cabinets
  • Poverty, cities, inner city communities and theology
  • Religious responses to local governance and decentralisation

Find out more - our PhD Theology and Religion  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Publications

Books

  • F. Davis et al (2008) Moral, But No Compass – Church, Government And Welfare Reform (Matthew James Publishing) (featured on the front page in The Times, with leaders in every broadsheet)
  • F. Davis and K. Chappell (2011) The Catholic Social Conscience (Gracewing) with a foreword from Rt Rev Declan Lang

Special editions of journals

Policy Studies and Civil Society:

  • F. Davis and A. Bradstock (2010) Beyond Bureaucracy – The New Localism (special edition of Crucible – The Journal For Social Responsibility) (SCM Press)
  • F. Davis (guest editor) (2009) Special Edition: Religion, Third Sector and Public Management, Public Money And Management (Vol 26, Nov)  (Routledge)

Inter-Disciplinary: Leadership in Religious Institutions

  • F. Davis (ed) (2011) Renewing The Catholic Social Conscience – with contributions from Professors Mary Jo Bane (Harvard), Chris McCruddeon (Oxford), Johan Verstraaten (Leiven), Julie McClague (Glasgow) a special edition of The International Journal of Public Theology (Brill, Leiden)
  • F. Davis and A. Bradstock (ed 2009) Special Edition: Faith, Welfare And Well-Being: New Directions International Journal of Public Theology (Brill,Leiden)

Chapters 

F. Davis (2019 forthcoming) 'God and Government: lessons from the UK Debate' in H. Geybels (ed) Church and State (Peeters/Leuven).

F. Davis (2019 forthcoming) 'Between Today and Yesterday: Evidence, Complexity And the "Body of Christ"’  in S. Walton (ed) Poverty in the early Church and Today (T and T Clark).

F. Davis (2011) 'The English Bishops, Caritas and Civic Prophecy After the 2010 Papal Visit', in K. Chappell and F. Davis (eds) (2011) The Catholic Social Conscience (Gracewing).

F. Davis (2011) Catholicism and The Welfare Society in K. Chappell and F. Davis (eds) (2011) The Catholic Social Conscience (Gracewing).

F. Davis (2011) 'Religion and Faith Communities' in Defence of Welfare: the Impacts of the Spending Review, ed N. Yeates et al (Social Policy Association).

F. Davis (2011) 'Social Innovation and Inter-Religious Action', in D. Singleton (ed) Faith With Its Sleeves Rolled Up (Faith Action, London).

F. Davis (2010) 'Social Innovation And Habits of the Heart', in P. Booth (ed) Christian Perspectives on the Financial Crash  (St Paul’s)

F. Davis (2001)  'A Political Economy of the Catholic Church' in K.Wilson and N.Timms (ed) Authority and Governance in the Catholic Church (SPCK)

Journal articles

  • F. Davis (2009) ‘Faith Based Advocacy and European Social Inclusion Process’, in Public Money And Management 29, 6.
  • F. Davis (2009) ‘Ideas, Institutions and Poverty Reduction’ in International Journal of Public Theology 3, 1.
  • F. Davis (2009) ‘Demise of Radicalism Or Re-Invention Of Governance? : Faith And The Welfare State’ in Crucible – Journal of Social Responsibility.

Reports

  • J. Stankeviciute, J . Rossiter, F. Davis (2008) National Mapping of Advocacy work alongside asylum seekers, refugees and migrantsof the catholic Church (funded by CAFOD and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales).
  • F. Davis et al (2007, 2008, 2008) European Public Value and the Social Inclusion Process – Three interrelated 22 country studies tracking the anti-poverty advocacy of national voluntary sector social welfare agencies across the EU 2006-08.  Funded by EC. Progress Programme (published in French 2007,08,09 and widely cited)
  • F. Davis; D. Ebbutt and R. Kaggwa (2007) The Ground of Justice – An Exploratory Study Into The Living And Working Conditions of One Thousand New London Arrivals (Funded by a consortium of London charities and Dioceses;  made front page in The Times).
  • F. Davis  (2014) Jobs and Innovation: Making the South East A Social Enterprise Capital (South East Local Economic Partnership/Kent County Council).

Pamphlets

  • L. Booth-Smith and F Davis (2017) A Disability Sector Deal Localis (London) (launched by Minister for Disability
  • F. Davis (2016) Social Care in the South Southern Policy Centre/BBC
  • F. Davis (2013)  Towards an Ethic Of Mutuality in Making It Mutual: the Ownership Revolution That Britain Needs ed R Willis and P Blond Res Publica London (co-published on cabinet Office website)
  • F. Davis (2010) The Big Society - A View From The South. SCA Institute (fully covered by Sunday Telegraph)
  • F. Davis and N. Koblintz (2009) : Mutual Futures – Ed Balls, Michael Gove and the Challenge to Religious Education – Las Casas Insights Series  (fully covered by the Times)
  • F. Davis. (2009) How to Do It? : Launching a Health Based Social Enterprise. SCA Social Enterprise Institute/NHS
  • G. Mulgan, R. Ali, F. Davis et al (2006) Social Silicon Valleys. British Council/Young Foundation (Radio 4 Guardian).
  • F.Davis (2005) Faith In Social Enterprise. Triodos Bank/Christian Socialist Movement.

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

  • Government – business – community relations especially civic innovation and cohesion
  • Race, faith, community empowerment
  • Contemporary religion and society especially government – religion relations
  • Social entrepreneurship and faith
  • Religious freedom
  • The political economy of religions
  • The politics, policy advocacy and anti-poverty action of Christian Churches and especially international Roman Catholic institutions.

Expertise

Contemporary religion and society; social entrepreneurship and faith; faith-based organisations as policy and political actors (and their social engagement) and the policy and politics of race, cohesion and political violence/’radicalisation’.

Professor Davis served as a policy advisor on faith and communities at Cabinet level to the last Labour government and as an advisor at Ministerial and Number 10 level on Cities, voluntary action and decentralisation under the Coalition. He speaks and advises widely on policy-related issues in the areas of religion, social action and social engagement.