PhD Studentship ‘Transforming systems, transforming lives: an evaluation of a jointly commissioned payment from savings service that aims to help severe and multiple deprivation families’

Applications are invited for a fully-funded full-time studentship evaluating a jointly commissioned payment from savings service that helps severe and multiple deprivation families.

In December 2010, the Prime Minister stated his commitment to turn around the lives of 120,000 of the country’s most troubled families by the end of this parliament and, as part of this, the Government has set out a clear vision about what needs to change in these households: getting children into school, cutting crime and anti-social behaviour and putting adults on the path to work (DCLG, 2013). While Government recognises that there is a huge human cost of failing to intervene effectively with troubled families (set out in a previous report from the Troubled Families Team, DCLG, 2012) the financial costs are also important to understand and evaluate.

The scope of the research will be to explore the impact of a joint commissioning approach to service provision for severe and multiple deprivation families on the power relations between service users, service providers and commissioners. The research will investigate whether this approach supports changes to the agency of service users in a way that empowers them to significantly influence the development and delivery of services, how effective a jointly commissioned ‘payment from savings’ service is in transforming the lives of Severe and Multiple Deprivation families and how this service compares to previous service delivery and with other models of delivery aiming to ‘turn around the lives’ of SMD families.

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This research is co-funded between the University of Worcester and Vestia Community Trust. The studentship will be based at the University of Worcester and data collection will take place in locations in Worcestershire.

The student will carry out a research project that will, on successful completion lead to the award of a higher research degree (PhD). The student will be expected to carry out their individual research study under the direction of Dr John Leah. 

Applicants should preferably have a good first degree in Social Work, Public Health, Social Policy or associated disciplines. Excellent oral and written English are a must, as are a commitment and enthusiastic approach to completing a higher research degree. The successful applicant will receive a tax free bursary of £12,300 per annum from the University of Worcester plus a limited budget to support their research. Fees will be paid in full at the UK/EU rate for home and EU citizens. Overseas students are welcome to apply but due to funding restrictions will need to fund the balance of fees for Overseas Research Students (approx. £6000 per annum).

For further details and application forms can be found by clicking the Apply link below.

For an informal discussion about the studentship please feel free to contact Dr John Leah on +44 1905 855 371 or by email:  

For questions regarding the application process contact Mrs Helen Tabinor, Graduate Research School Manager (tel: 01905 855012, email:

Closing date for applications is 1st September 2013.  

Candidates will be invited for interview on 24th September 2013.

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