The Public Administration and Public Policy Specialist Group formed in 1995, with Professor R.A.W. Rhodes as its first Convenor. It organises seminars and conference panels, and provides funding for public policy, administration and management-related events.

The group aims to provide a focus for academics teaching and researching in the fields of public administration, public policy and management. It encompasses both UK and European perspectives, as well as wider comparative interests including the Americas, Africa,  Australaisia and Asia.

The study of public administration is multidisciplinary and can be found located in business schools as well as social science departments, its practitioners occupy positions throughout the public sector as well as those private organisations and NGOs involved in the delivery of public services. There is no one theory or group of theories, but a multiplicity of approaches that draw on political science and economics as well as sociology and philosophy. Our study group explores these approaches and perspectives and encourages all with an interest in public policy, administration and management to collaborate.

The group co-convenors are Dr Stephen Greasley (University of Exeter), Dr Dion Curry (Swansea University) and Dr Nick Dickinson (University of Oxford). To join or find out more, please email us using the email addresses to the right.

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Panels at the 71st PSA Online Annual International Conference, 29th-31st March 2021

The Public Policy and Administration Group is delighted to announce our panels for the 2021 Annual International Conference. We'll have eight full panels for you to check out in March on a range of policy and admin topics. You can dowload the detailed list of panels and papers and here.

1.    Policy Challenges of COVID 19
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges for policymakers around the world, both in dealing with the immediate impacts on public health and the knock-on effects on economies and societies. This panel explores a diverse range of these issues, and also some of the challenges faced in communicating pandemic policy to the public.

2.  Past and Future of the British Welfare State
Since its beginnings at the start of the twentieth century, the British welfare state has been in continuous flux and has gone through a number of distinct iterations in its design. This panel explores both its past development, present challenges and future direction across a range of policy areas within welfare policy as a whole, from pensions to out of work benefits and social care.

3.    Co-Production and Expertise in Policy Research
Co-production is an important but contested frontier for policy research, as well as one which challenges our conceptions of what relevant expertise consists of both on the part of the researcher and the subject. This panel tackles these issues both from the perspective of co-production theories and research on traditional and non-traditional 'expert' subjects who help inform the design and conclusions of research.

4.    Policy Entrepreneurship, Adaption and Learning
The way in which policymakers learn and adapt to new challenges is a vital area of policy research, both to understand dynamic policy processes and to inform better policy making approaches. Policy entrepreneurs are often key to this process, yet their role has not always been comprehensively understood. This panel links together these issues with papers on policy learning, adaption to change and challenges and reflections on the theory and practice of policy entrepreneurship.

5.    Local and Regional Autonomy in UK Policymaking
In the wake of increasing devolution and the highly regional and local effects of austerity in the UK, policy scholars have increasingly recognised the local and regional as important sites of interest for policy research in Britain. This panel explores this local turn in policy studies with papers on local and regional governmental tiers, exploring issues of fiscal and policy making autonomy in the UK.

6.    Integrity, Auditing and Regulation 
Issues of integrity and probity in policy making are increasingly central to global governance challenges. Maintaining accountability and transparency in policy structures requires robust systems for regulation and auditing. Yet, by their nature, such systems face consistent pushback from actors who find their oversight intrusive. This panel looks at these challenges across developing and developed countries to draw insights into how these challenges can be overcome.

7.    Policy Making Beyond the State
While we often think about policy as emanating solely from the state and government, there are important sites of policy making in the private sector and non-governmental organisations which both affect and are affected by traditional public policy making. This panel looks at a diverse set of areas in which policy is made by non-state actors, from the international arena to private firms and think tanks.

8.    Language and Narrative in Policy
Policy is deeply affected by language, both in the language with which policy goals are expressed and the way policy is communicated in the implementation phase. This is doubly so when the policy in question concerns language as the substantive topic, presenting a number of difficult challenges to be overcome. This panel explores the interplay of policymaking with narrative and language - both as the medium and object of policy.


The PSA’s network of 60 Specialist Groups offers a research focus for all members and covers a vast range of specialities within the discipline. SGs provide an opportunity for groups of academics who share a common interest in a particular area of the discipline to organise meetings, coordinate communications, and as outlets for research – as well as giving PSA members opportunities for developing their academic impact and professional development.”

Convenors can view the SG Handbook here.

If you would like to learn more or have any questions, do get in touch via or with Arianna Giovannini (, the Specialist Groups Trustee

Contact Us

Stephen Greasley

Role: Convenor
Institution: University of Exeter 

Nick Dickinson

Role: Convenor
Institution: University of Oxford

Dion Curry

Role: Convenor
Institution: Swansea University 


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Group News

17 September 2020