The 2012 Social Policy Association Awards Ceremony was held during the Association’s Annual Conference, presented at the Association’s July Annual Conference (for 2012 co-hosted with the East Asian Social Policy research network) at the University of York. The awards were presented by the SPA President, Sue Duncan.
The 2012 winners were: Receiving the UK Social Policy Association (SPA) 2012 Special Recognition Award, Alan Deacon, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at the University of Leeds, Professor David Byrne of the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University, Fiona Williams OBE, Emeritus Professor at the School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds and Nicholas Deakin, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Birmingham University. Receiving the 2012 Outstanding Contribution to Social Policy Debate, Analysis and/or Practice Award, Lord Richard Best and receiving the Best Postgraduate Paper Award, Ilana Shpaizman, a PhD candidate at the School of Public Policy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Congratulations to our winners and to all those nominated.
Special Recognition Award
The Special Recognition Award is made to SPA members who have retired, are due to retire, or hold an Emeritus position and marks contributions in the field to research, teaching and learning, impact on political process and discourse; and recognises the esteem in which the recipient is held.
Alan Deacon, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at the University of Leeds
Making the Award, SPA President Sue Duncan explained: “Alan’s contribution to research in social policy has been significant. He has contributed to some significant theoretical debates in social policy and has worked with politicians on the left and the right to influence the shape of policy. He also played a key role in keeping social policy as a discipline alive and kicking when it was under threat.”
Receiving his Award, Alan told those present: “I am delighted and very proud to receive this award from the SPA. I have been a member of the Association for over 40 years and have always found it to be the most friendly and mutually supportive of the learned societies. Now its role in defending both the substance and study of social policy is even more vital in what is without question the coldest of cold climates”.
Professor David Byrne of the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University
Making the Award, SPA President Sue Duncan explained: “David has been an active player in the social policy world, holding positions with the SPA, the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Joint Universities Council for Social and Public Administration. His research interests include social exclusion, urban cities and communities and the role of research in policy and politics. He is also an acknowledged expert in research methods and has made a sustained contribution to research and research led teaching and learning in social policy.”
Receiving the Award, David told those present: “I am delighted to receive this honour from my peers in the SPA which has always been my favourite learned society because it is irredeemably collegiate and supportive. However, I have to note that during my career I have seen the welfare state established in a society – to quote the Geordie expression – ‘on the bones of its arse’ after the victory in the great war against fascism become threatened by abandonment of the universalist principle – and never more so than in the current ‘age of austerity’ when, of course, we are more than four times better off in real terms than when the post-war welfare settlement was brought into being.”
Fiona Williams OBE, Emeritus Professor at the School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds
Making the Award, SPA President Sue Duncan explained: “Fiona is a respected and talented scholar, whose research on gender, race, ethnicity and disability has contributed to debate and policy both nationally and internationally. Though retired, she continues to be an active player in the social policy field.”
Fiona, who is also part-time Professor at the Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales, told those present: “I feel this award is a recognition of a critical perspective in social policy that I have helped develop over some 40 years spanning feminist, anti-racist, disability and queer politics: a perspective that has been both theoretical and grounded in action and activism. At this moment in time this combination is vital for social policy – it’s about using our analytical skills to the utmost never to take anything for granted, yet still to articulate our hopes for a better future.”
A public lecture made by Fiona, at a colloquium on her work to mark her retirement from the University of Leeds on 29 June 2012, will shortly be available as a webcast on the website of the University’s School of Sociology and Social Policy.
Nicholas Deakin, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Birmingham University
Making the Award, SPA President Sue Duncan commented: “Nick has engaged in social policy from a number of perspectives. He has been both gamekeeper and poacher, having worked both in the public sector and as a distinguished scholar of social policy. He has made a sustained contribution to research in social policy for nearly 50 years and has had a powerful impact on political discourse in a number of areas, including ethnic relations, the policy process and the voluntary sector.”
Nicholas told those present: “I’m very happy to accept this award, which I value particularly because it comes from an Association that performs such an important role in public life – fostering research that speaks cogently to the great social and political issues of the day and providing the environment for the future of teaching and research in public policy.”
Outstanding Contribution to Social Policy Debate, Analysis and/or Practice Award
The Award recognises a significant and lasting contribution made by an individual or organisation to the field of social policy – through campaigning, lobbying, service provision, fundraising, journalism, funding or dissemination of research, or other non-academic means.
Lord Richard Best
Richard was Director of the National Federation of Housing Associations from 1973 until 1988, during which time housing associations became a major element of social housing. From 1988 until 2006 he was Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), and he was responsible for establishing the Centre for Housing Policy and was the Secretary to the Duke of Duke of Edinburgh’s Inquiry in British Housing. Since being appointed to the House of Lords in 2001 as an independent cross bencher he has continued to be active in social policy affairs. SPA President Sue Duncan explained: “In his time with JRF Richard worked tirelessly to ensure that the Foundation’s research was both useful and used, and JRF’s innovative ‘Findings’ series was adopted as a model of focussed dissemination by many other organisations. Lord Best is not a man who takes ‘no’ for an answer and made many changes at JRF in an attempt to make its research more relevant to policy and practice.” Richard commented “I must thank the SPA for the very great honour of this Award. Any successes I may have achieved in securing policy change have always been on the back of the hard work of the research community who have supplied the ammunition. To all the many academics from whom I have stolen so much – in a good cause – I express admiration, appreciation and sincere thanks. I want to pay tribute to all those connected with the UK Social Policy Association and in particular, to give my thanks and congratulations on your extraordinary achievements over the years.”
Best Postgraduate Paper Award
Ilana Shpaizman, a PhD candidate at the School of Public Policy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, for her paper ‘Load shedding and reloading: Privatization and the increase in government responsibility – The case of Israeli immigration and integration policy.’
SPA President Sue Duncan, described Ilana’s paper as “sophisticated in its use of theory”, and her written style as “a model of clarity”. Ilana gave her winning paper at the 2011 SPA Annual Conference in Lincoln.
She said of her experience: “I felt that although my paper was far from being perfect it seemed that I had something interesting to say, and this Award in a way confirmed this feeling. I want to thank the SPA – not only for the Award but also for providing me with the platform and giving me an incentive to organise my findings and thoughts. ”
SIlana’s dissertation is about the influence of ideas on policy changes and her case study is the Israeli integration policy since 1990. After finishing her PhD she hopes to proceed to post-doctoral work abroad and, after that, to find a tenure track position at one of the universities in Israel.
All photos courtesy of Sarah Brooks-Wilson