Fran Bennett

Fran Bennett works half time in the department as a senior research and teaching fellow, with a focus on social policy. She has a particular interest in social security policy, gender issues, and poverty, income distribution and participation.

She is also an independent consultant, and has written extensively on social policy issues for the UK government, NGOs and others. With Prof Jonathan Bradshaw, she is one of the UK team of independent experts in the European Social Policy Network for the European Commission.

Fran chairs the editorial board of the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, having been a co-editor. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and an associate of its international advisory group.

She worked for the Child Poverty Action Group from 1983-93, as deputy director and then director, and in the late 1990s was policy advisor on UK and EU poverty issues for Oxfam GB. She is an active member of the Women's Budget Group and chairs the policy advisory group for Oxfam’s work on poverty in the UK.

Fran is the convenor of the undergraduate social policy option course (224) for the Honour school of Politics, Philosophy and Economics, and History and Politics, for Department of Politics and International Relations (plus Human Sciences students, from Michaelmas 2014).

Fran Bennett's research focuses on:

  • social security policy
  • gender issues, especially in relation to within-household distribution and tax/social security
  • poverty and income distribution.

Her recent research involved examining (with other colleagues) the interaction between within-household inequalities and policy on tax and benefits in the UK in a project in the ESRC-funded Gender Equality Network (2002-10)

More recently, she has written an evidence and policy review on gender and poverty for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's anti-poverty strategies programme with Prof. Mary Daly, DSPI (available from publications list in Further Information tab).

Millar, Jane and Bennett, Fran (2017) "Universal credit: assumptions, contradictions and virtual reality", Social Policy and Society 16: 2 169-182

Bradshaw, Jonathan and Bennett, Fran (2017) “ESPN Thematic Report on Progress in the Implementation of the 2013 Recommendation on ‘Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage’”, European Social Policy Network for European Commission:

Bennett, Fran (2015) "The impact of austerity on women", L. Foster, A. Brunton, C. Deeming and T. Haux eds.In Defence of Welfare II. Social Policy Association:

Zipfel, Tricia, Tunnard, Jo, Feeney, Josephine, Flannagan, Audrey, Gaffney, Loretta, Postle, Karen, O’Grady, Frances, Young, Sally and Bennett, Fran (2015) “Our Lives: Challenging attitudes to poverty in 2015”, published by Trades Union Congress:

Bennett, Fran (2014) "The 'living wage', low pay and in work poverty: rethinking the relationships", Critical Social Policy 34: 1 46-65. doi: 10.1177/o261018313481564

Bennett, Fran and Sung, Sirin (2014) "Money matters: using qualitative research for policy influencing on gender and welfare reform", Innovation: the European Journal of Social Science Research 27: 1 5-19. doi: 10.1080/13511610.2013.787696

Bennett, Fran (2013) "Researching within household distribution: overview, developments, debates and methodological challenges", Journal of Marriage and Family 75: 3 582-597. doi: 10.1111/jomf.12020. URL:

Bennett, Fran and Sung, Sirin (2013) "Dimensions of financial autonomy in low/moderate-income couples from a gender perspective and implications for welfare reform", Journal of Social Policy 42: 4 701-719

Bennett, Fran (2012) "Universal credit: overview and gender implications", M. Kilkey, G. Ramia and K. Farnsworth eds. Social Policy Review 24: Analysis and debate in social policy 2012. Bristol: The Policy Press, 15-34

Lister, Ruth and Bennett, Fran (2010) "The new 'champion of progressive ideals'? Cameron's Conservative Party: poverty, family policy and welfare reform", Renewal 18: 1 84-109

Inequality: What is to be Done?. Sir Tony Atkinson (2015). Podcast interview by Fran Bennett with Sir Tony Atkinson about his book View Online

Poverty in the UK: the need for a gender perspective. Bennett, Fran (2015). Briefing paper for the Women's Budget Group on gender and poverty, based on a working paper co-authored with Mary Daly:

Poverty Through a Gender Lens: Evidence and policy review on gender and poverty. Bennett, Fran. and Daly, Mary (2014). Working paper supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Download

The ‘living wage’, low pay and in work poverty: Exploring the difficult to resolve conceptual and pragmatic issues around the ‘living wage’. Bennett, Fran (2013). Blog post on LSE’s (London School of Economics and Political Science’s) Politics and Policy blog about the living wage (based on article in Critical Social Policy)

The importance of independent income: understanding the role of non-means-tested earnings replacement benefits.  Fran Bennett, Fran and Holly Sutherland, Holly (2011). Barnett Paper in Social Research 2011 no. 1. (Also published as ISER Working Paper Series 2011-09, Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Essex)

Expanded publication list

Saltanat Rasulova (supervised jointly with Prof Robert Walker), who is Senior Consultant (Research and Data Collection Methods portfolio), Oxford Public Management, Oxford  

Dalia Ben Galim, who is Director of Policy, Advice and Communications, Gingerbread

Mariann Dosa was co-founder and head of the School of Public Life, Budapest and is currently living in the UK working for consultancies in the field of community development.

Rys Farthing (supervised jointly with Prof Robert Walker), who is a policy and charity consultant, who works with clients from Manchester City Council to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty and NGOs such as WATOceans

List of site pages