In Memory of Dr Angus Erskine (1953-2023)

Image of Dr Angus Erskine (1953-2023)
Dr Angus Erskine (image supplied by the authors)

From Pete Alcock, Maggie May and Sharon Wright,

It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of Angus Erskine, a key contributor to the early development of the SPA, who passed away peacefully in hospital in Scotland in mid-August. After completing his doctorate at Edinburgh in 1981, Angus initially taught at the then Sunderland Polytechnic, and subsequently at Edinburgh University. Here he combined teaching with working for an anti-poverty unit and as research assistant to Alistair Darling MP before moving to Glasgow and then Stirling Universities, where his teaching enriched the lives of many generations of social policy students.

Angus was an active member of the SPA throughout the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. As its first Development Officer, he initiated and edited the SPA’s printed Newsletter, helping to publicise and establish its change of name in 1987 (from the Social Administration Society) and widen interest in the discipline. He was also largely responsible for the creation of the distinctive SPA logo and letterhead, and later went on to become Secretary and an Executive Committee member.

Angus was deeply committed to the promotion and development of Social Policy as an academic subject. He was an energetic member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Social Policy, including a period as book review editor. He was also involved, along with Pete and Maggie, in the development of its sister journal, Social Policy and Society, and served on the Editorial Board. Angus also worked as editor with Pete and Maggie in the production of the first two editions of the successful Student’s Companion to Social Policy, and The Blackwell Dictionary of Social Policy.

He had a particular interest in social security, anti-poverty policy and comparative social policy, issues he addressed in his doctoral and subsequent research, and for a number of years he was a member of the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC). He retired early from Stirling in 2007 but continued his involvement in the SSAC until the end of the decade.

Angus is fondly remembered for his significant contributions to the subject, and for his engaging and collaborative approach to teaching and subject development.