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Fifty Blogs for fifty years

2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the SPA. To celebrate this milestone we commissioned 50 blogs from leading experts in the field. You can read them here.

“Social policy matters. Rigorous, independent, robust study of it matters, as does teaching the next generation to be more policy-literate. At 50 the SPA is as important to all of these as ever, helping to develop, integrate and safeguard the subject and its members and contribute to better social policies.” (50 words to mark 50 years, Adrian Sinfield)


  • Racism and ethnic discrimination are rife within higher education. The Social Policy Association is taking steps to address these problems within its discipline.
    50th Anniversary Blog Series

    No 49: Addressing ‘race’ and ethnicity in social policy

    by Steve Iafrati and Jane Millar Social policy has always been a dynamic discipline that has readily identified new social challenges and been at the forefront of recognising ways of improving society. Amidst a contemporary political hegemony of ‘intellectual and moral leadership’ characterised by new [...]
  • Though the size of the global middle class is growing, their political power is shrinking in the face of austerity.
    50th Anniversary Blog Series

    No 47: Farewell to the middle class?

    by Zoë Irving On Tuesday 22nd May 2019, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights released the final report on his country visit to the UK. His conclusion that the evaporation of the UK’s social contract is revealing a Hobbesian lived [...]

More From our Fifty-For-Fifty Series

The government of López Obrador in Mexico is letting down the poor with its austerity and poorly crafted social policy.
50th Anniversary Blog Series

No 45: Contradictions from the left in Mexico

by Luis Huesca Reynoso and Ricardo Velázquez Leyer In 2018, for the first time in Mexico’s history, a left-wing government was in a fair and competitive election, just when governments in other Latin American countries began to veer […]


What is social policy

The Social Policy Association (SPA) is the UK’s professional association for teachers, researchers, students and practitioners of social policy. We promote social policy in teaching and learning and seek to advance the role of research in policy making, practice and wider public debates.

The Social Policy Association supports Discover Society: Measured – Factual – Critical

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Our Journals



ISSN: 0047-2794 (Print), 1469-7823 (Online) The Journal of Social Policy carries high quality articles on all aspects of social policy in an international context. It places particular emphasis upon articles which seek to contribute to […]

SPA Publications

In Defence of Welfare 2

In Defence of Welfare began in 2010 as a response to this government’s first Major Spending Review. Put together by the Social Policy Association, it was an attempt to anticipate the impact of such cuts [...]

In Defence of Welfare 1

In Defence of Welfare was published in early 2011 and brings together responses from social policy experts to a range of different aspects of the Coalition government’s planned reforms of – and cuts to – [...]

SPA Guidelines on Research Ethics

The purpose of these Guidelines on Research Ethics is to provide a framework to help members of the Social Policy Association (SPA) identify and address the different kinds of ethical issues which may arise in [...]

Experiences of REF Impact Pilots

The Higher Education Funding Councils have proposed that the impact of research should form part of the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF). Because the assessment of research impact is a new endeavour, the approach and [...]