Welcome from the SPA’s Chair, Karen Rowlingson.

The Social Policy Association (SPA) is a learned society and charity. Our purpose is to advance the teaching, research, and dissemination of knowledge in the field of social policy, and to represent the interests of our members. The SPA was founded in 1972 and we have a large membership in the UK and internationally.


  • To promote the discipline of Social Policy
  • To represent its members’ interests
  • To promote communication and learning between its members and with the wider policy and public


  • To promote the discipline by engaging in consultation with organisations responsible for post-compulsory education and social science research in the UK
  • To promote research, teaching and practice in Social Policy and work to enhance the public profile of the subject through engagement within and beyond the discipline
  • To provide a forum for the exchange and dissemination of ideas
  • To offer an unparalleled opportunity to keep in touch with national and international developments in a fast-changing policy environment
  • To actively promote stronger international links
  • To enhance the long-term development of the discipline by liaising closely with the Economic and Social Research Council and other bodies involved in postgraduate training; and provide a range of services to support and encourage advanced studies in Social Policy

Our membership

Most of our members are teachers and researchers in social policy and applied social science within UK higher education, although we also have a significant and growing number of members from other European, Asian and Australasian countries. As an outward-looking association we seek to engage in global aspects of social policy and with scholars residing outside of as well as within the UK.