Research at Policy in Practice

Answer research and policy questions that are important to us and our partners
Leverage our expertise in linking and working with administrative data
Help our partners to understand the needs of their population, and improve service provision

Research is an important part of our work at Policy in Practice. We have a dedicated research team who work with academics, local government policymakers, and the third sector, to conduct and facilitate research. Our goal is to bridge the link between rigorous research and its practical policy applications. In doing so, we help local authorities and other partners to understand the needs of their population, and improve service provision. 

We bring two key areas of expertise to our research work.

  1. We have deep knowledge of the complexities of the UK benefits system, and how policies from many areas and levels of government can come together to impact an individual or householdThis knowledge comes from our practical experience of working with local authorities to help them make sense of their benefits administration data, and from running the Better Off Calculator, which helps many thousands of people to navigate the benefit system each weekBecause we work closely with many local authorities we are also well-placed to understand common challenges and disseminate research findings


  2. We have unparalleled experience analysing local governments’ benefits data, as well as other related datasetsWe’ve worked with public sector data since 2014 and regularly workwith administrative benefits data from over 100 local authorities across the UKWe also work with local health, social care, housing and legal services data. Currently, there are few academic or government users of this data

    Policy in Practice is one of only a handful of organisations that use this data systematically. We have built up the knowledge and expertise required to use it for research

Reports and evaluations


Academic partnerships

Meet the research team

Our research team members are social policy experts with experience working in academia, in government and at non-profits. They are passionate about doing research that has impact

Photo of Mary-Alice Doyle

Mary-Alice Doyle

Research Lead

Mary-Alice is a social policy researcher with experience in policy, research management and working with administrative data. She has worked as an economist and policy advisor in various roles in the Australian government, and as a research manager at J-PAL North America. She is currently a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics. Her research focus is on benefits policy, and how the way the benefits system is designed and administered can affect employment, education and health outcomes for recipients and their families.

Juliet-Nil Uraz

Juliet-Nil Uraz

Senior Research Analyst

Juliet is an applied economist with experience in public policy, impact evaluations and inequality measurement.
She has contributed to the World Political Cleavages and Inequality project ( co-directed by Thomas Piketty and worked at the European Systemic Risk Board.
She holds a Master’s degree from the Paris School of Economics and is currently a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics. Her research aims to quantify the importance of legal assistance for social welfare problems. She is particularly interested in the interactions between access to civil legal aid, benefit take-up, debt management and eviction proceedings.

Magda Rossetti Youlton

Magda Rossetti Youlton

Senior Research Analyst

Magdalena has over ten years of experience working in the public sector, international organisations, and research institutes in policy areas such as employment, health, education, taxation, disability, and urban development.
She was an Advisor for the Ministry of Finance and has worked with local governments in Chile. She has been a consultant for several international organisations, including the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN) and the Interamerican Development Bank.
She holds a Master’s of Public Administration and is currently a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics, where her research focuses on poverty, spatial inequality, and household composition.

Zoe Charlesworth

Zoe Charlesworth

Associate Policy and Research Consultant

Zoe Charlesworth joined Policy in Practice with over twenty years’ experience of welfare benefits policy gained from her work within both the public and private sectors. She has an extensive understanding of regulation and practice of both legacy benefits and Universal Credit having previously been a Benefit Manager and a Revenues and Benefit Manager at three local authorities and an independent consultant on welfare policy.

Zoe has published numerous articles on welfare benefits and has spoken extensively on the impact of welfare policy and the impact of Universal Credit. Zoe is currently a consultant on research and welfare policy at Policy in Practice. She previously held roles as the Director of Operations and Policy at Policy in Practice, the strategic lead for benefit policy and delivery within local authorities, and Policy Consultant at the Local Government Association.

Recent blogs

We would love to hear from anyone interested in working with us, or in learning more about our research.

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