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Jay Wiggan

photo of Jay Wiggan

PGCHET (Queen's University Belfast)
PhD (University of Nottingham)
MA (University of Leeds)

Lecturer in Social Policy
Room 2.08, College Park East
Tel (+44) 028 9097 5159

Research interests

Jay’s research interests include the reform of public employment services and social security administration. He is particularly interested in the variations that are present in and between OECD states in the provision, effectiveness and accountability mechanisms associated with the rise of market based reforms in the governance of active labour market policy. Jay’s research is also focused on popular and political discourses of welfare reform in the constituent countries of the UK and the implications these have for benefit recipients.

His recent research includes an examination of how notions of choice, empowerment, obligation and efficiency are used to reshape the content and presentation of social security and labour market governance in the UK.  Jay’s current research brings together his interest in discourses of welfare reform and social security governance, through a pilot study of people in Northern Ireland with the fluctuating health condition ME/CFS. This small scale qualitative project examines the experiences of people with ME/CFS in accessing the social security system and public employment service and explores their shifting participation in paid and unpaid work over time.

Jay previously held research positions at the University of Manchester and the University of Nottingham and has worked on projects funded by a range of organisations including Jobcentre Plus; the National Audit Office; the Department for Work and Pensions; Age NI; the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisors and Salford City Council.

Teaching interests and activity

Governance of active labour market programmes and social security policy and administration; lone parents, disabled people, work and welfare reform; devolution and the comparative political economy of welfare states.

Jay is interested in supervising doctoral students in any of the above areas and welcomes expressions of interest regarding this.

Programme Director

BA (Hons) Social Policy pathway

Module convenor

SOC9017 Storage, Management and Analysis of Qualitative Data

SPY2007 Citizenship, Tax and Benefits

SPY1001 Finding Out about Social Policy

Contributing lecturer

SOC9007 Advanced Qualitative Methods

SPY3014 Disability and Society

CRM 2006 Crime and the Media

SPY1002 Digital Society


Jay sits on the Editorial Board of the journal Social Policy & Society, is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Social Policy Association.


Journal articles

Wiggan, J. (2012) ‘A kingdom united? Devolution and welfare reform in Northern Ireland and Great Britain’, pp 55-70, Policy & Politics, Vol. 40, No. 1

Rafferty, A. & Wiggan, J. (2011) ‘Choice and welfare reform: lone parents’ decision making around paid work and family life’, pp 275-293, Journal of Social Policy, Vol. 40, No. 2.

Wiggan, J. (2010) 'Managing time: the integration of caring and paid work by low income families and the role of the Uk's tax credit system', pp 631-645, Policy Studies, Vol. 31, No. 6.

Talbot, C. & Wiggan, J. (2010) ‘Public Value of the National Audit Office’, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 23, Issue 1.

Wiggan, J. (2009) ‘Mapping the governance reform of welfare to work in Britain under New Labour , International Journal of Public Administration, pp 1-21, Vol. 32, Issue 12.

Brookes, S. & Wiggan, J. (2009) ‘Reflecting the Public Value of Sport: A game of two halves’, Public Management Review, pp 401-420, Vol. 11, Issue 4.

Wiggan, J. (2007) ‘Reforming the United Kingdom’s public employment and social security agencies’, International Review of Administrative Sciences, pp 409-424, No. 3, Vol. 73, September.

Wiggan, J. (2007) ‘Administering economic reform: labour and the governance of social security’, Policy & Politics, No. 4, Vol. 35, October.

Wiggan, J. & Talbot, C. (2006) 'The benefits of welfare rights advice', Benefits – The Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, pp, 235-239,Vol. 14, No. 3, October.


Wiggan, J. (2011) 'Something old and blue or red, bold and new? Welfare reform under the Coalition Government' in Holden, C. Kilkey, M and Ramia, G (eds) Social Policy Review 23, The Policy Press.

Wiggan, J. (2007) ‘Department for Work & Pensions’, pp 110-117 in Talbot, C. & Baker, M. (eds.) The Alternative Comprehensive Spending Review, Manchester University Press.

Wiggan, J. & Talbot, C. (2006) ‘Take-up of Entitlements and Pensioner Poverty: A Review of the Literature’, Chapter 6, pp 47-58, Progress in Tackling Pensioner Poverty: Encouraging Take-up of entitlements – Technical Report, Comptroller and Auditor General, HC1178-11, Session 2005-2006, TSO, London.

Research Reports

Rafferty, A. & Wiggan, J. (2008) Lone Parents and the reform of UK Public Employment Services: Examining the role of private recruitment agencies, Recruitment and Employment Confederation/ Adecco Institute, December, 

Talbot, C. & Wiggan, J. with Hendey, N. Rafferty, A. Calcraft, R. Freestone, M. & Wyatt, B. (2005) Jobcentre Plus customer service performance and  delivery: A qualitative review, Research Report No. 276, Department for Work and Pensions, Corporate Document Services, Leeds.