Prof Francesca Gains


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Francesca Gains is a Professor of Public Policy and Academic Co-Director of Policy@Manchester at the University of Manchester. Before becoming an academic she worked in local government & the probation service, and has both government funded and Parliamentary research experience. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and on the editorial board of the Journal of Public Policy, Local Government Studies and the International Review of Administrative Sciences.

Her research explores the relationship between political management arrangements and policy outcomes.  Current projects investigate the devolution agenda including new arrangements to support Police and Crime Commissioners (with Vivien Lowndes) linked with ERC funded Understanding Institutional Change research; and the changing use of impact assessment accross Whitehall (Leverhulme funded).  

Francesca also has a long term research agenda examining gender & policy making in the UK core executive and comparatively. She conducted research on 'Pathways to Politics', the routes to representation and barriers faced by under-represented groups for the Equality and Human Rights Commission and was a co-investigator on a ESRC Seminar Series considering Feminizing Politics.  In 2012 she was awarded the Best Paper in Comparative Policy at the 2011 American Political Science Association conference in Seattle for work examining when governments pay attention to gender equality demands (with collaborators Claire Annesley and Isabelle Engeli).

Previously she has worked on a number of government funded research projects including a five year evaluation of constitutional reform in English local government, the introduction of health scrutiny for the Centre for Public Scrutiny, as well as research for the Standards Board for England, the Lyons Inquiry into Local Government and the Roberts Commission on the Role of Councillors.  In 2008 she received the Herbert Kaufman Award for the Best Paper in Public Administration at the 2007 American Political Science Association Conference in Chicago for research examining bureaucratic policy preferences (with Peter John).  Earlier research examined the introduction of new political management arrangements in central government through the establishment of executive agencies.  

Further information

Supervision areas:

Supervised to completion

  • Anthony Chambers (ESRC funded) Do Immigrant Origin MPs represent Immigrant Origin Voters?
  • Ana Sanchez Santana (ORS funded) The Challenges of Regulatory Governance in Mexico
  • Jolanta Shields (ESRC and Presedential Doctoral Scholarship) 'Community Interest Companies in the NHS: A Trojan Horse for Marketisation?
  • Leah Culhane (ERC Understanding Institutional Change funded)  'Feminist Institutionalism and Gendered Political Change'
  • Rabi'ah Aminudin (Government funding) 'The Role of the National Women's Policy Agency in Malaysia'
  • Sara Kallock 'Liveability and the Framing of Sex Work'
  • Ceray Celan 'The Impact of Islamic Communities on Educational Policy Making in Turkey
  • Paul Hepburn (Englander Fellowship) 'Local Governance and the Local Online Networked Public Sphere';
  • Christina Easton (ESRC funded) 'The Representation of Women in the Transitional House of Lords';
  • Tessa Brannan (ESRC funded) 'Bounded Rationality in Best Practice Policy Learning around Community Engagement ';
  • Susanna Ghosh-Mitra 'Implementation of Water Privitisation Policies in India';
  • Catherine Durose (ESRC funded) 'From 'Street Level Bureaucrats' to 'Front Line Workers' ;

Currently supervising doctoral research on:

  • Christopher Butler (SoSS funding) UK Governments & Public Opinion Policy Responsiveness
  • Anna Sanders (ESRC funded) The Impact of Gendered Policies on Women's Voting
  • Matthew Crow Social Enterprise in the British Political Tradition
  • Blanca Merino Casallo 'Investigating Politicians' Acting For and Against Gender Equality Policies'

Would welcome enquiries on any of the research areas listed under biography for example, comparative public policy, public policy analysis, political management, Labour politics and policy, gender and policy making, public policy impact assessment.

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