BA, PhD in Geography
- Primary position:
- Professor of Social Policy
- Other positions:
- Deputy Director of the Third Sector Research Centre
John is a graduate of the University of Durham (BA, PhD in Geography). His academic career involved various research and teaching posts in the universities of London, Plymouth, and Portsmouth before moving to Southampton in 2005. He has held several research fellowships from ESRC (postdoctoral fellowship, 1986-8), the Commonwealth Fund of New York (Harkness Fellowship, 1992-3), and the Leverhulme Trust (2005-6). He has also held visiting positions at the University of Pennsylvania and at Canterbury University, New Zealand. His work has also been recognised by election to the UK’s Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences (2006).
"John has advised Parliamentary select committees and currently acts as an adviser to two large national charities on research matters."
The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)
Conference or Workshop Item
John’s work was once characterised in a book review as “historical social policy written by a geographer” which broadly sums it up. He has conducted book-length studies of health policy under the Conservative governments of the 1990s (A national health service? (Macmillan, 1995, 1996)), the rise and fall of planning mechanisms to govern the distribution of hospital services in England (Planning, markets and hospitals (Routledge, 2002)), the relationship between social capital and health inequalities at the community level (Social capital, place and health (with Steve Barnard, Liz Twigg and Kelvyn Jones) (Health Development Agency, 2004)) and the development of contributory schemes as a mechanism for financing hospital provision in Britain (Mutualism and health care (with Martin Gorsky)(Manchester UP, 2006)). His work on the pre-NHS hospital system resulted in the production of a substantial database which is now available for searching and download at http://www.hospitalsdatabase.lshtm.ac.uk
He is currently heavily involved in research projects concerned with the development, contribution and impact of the third sector (a.k.a the voluntary and community sector, the nonprofit sector, or various other kinds of sector)in the UK. With the present spate of interest in the “big society” this work is extremely topical. Under John’s direction several staff in the Third Sector Research Centre (www.tsrc.ac.uk) undertake research which is designed to chart the contours of the “big society”. We are in the process of establishing large-scale data resources and/or analysing existing survey and other datasets which will allow us to map not just the distribution of voluntary resources and its relationship to patterns of social need, but also to look at trends in participation in voluntary organisations over time, and long run changes in the distribution of voluntary organisations. John is also directing a strand of work in the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy (www.cgap.org.uk) on the theme of the distributional effects of charitable spending, where the focus of Southampton’s work is particularly on that and the charitable expenditures by region and locality. The idea of a “charity desert” is something that is being explored by this work although it is an idea about which we are fairly sceptical. Other relevant projects include a contribution to the Northern Rock Foundation’s Third Sector Trends study (http://www.nr-foundation.org.uk/thirdsectortrends/index.html) which is a very detailed mapping of voluntary organisations in the north-east of England and Cumbria. These programmes of work have also involved collaboration with various local and national voluntary organisations, regulators, and government departments (e.g. NCVO, the National Trust, Volunteering England, the Charity Commission, and the Office for Civil Society) as well as contributing to policy debate (e.g. through submitting evidence to Parliamentary select committee enquiries).
John currently supervises a range of PhD student projects on topics such as volunteering (e.g. relationship between volunteering and voting; biographical approaches to the careers of volunteers; volunteering policy), social enterprise in health care delivery, and the role of community organisations such as residents associations in promoting quality of life in their neighbourhoods.