Chris is a specialist in public policy and is a senior lecturer in the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit. He is responsible for managing a number of research projects, providing leadership on the design and delivery of research and evaluation projects around public sector reform and its impact on social policy design, implementation and delivery. He manages projects that involve multidisciplinary teams (often in collaboration with academics and practitioners within and outside PERU) and mixed methods research methods. Much of his work before joining PERU was around modelling need and demand in terms of multiple needs, prevention and integration of services. Chris also teaches on social policy and evidence-based policy within the Department of Sociology. Chris had a successful career as a civil servant and in applied policy research before he entered academia in 2010. He completed his PhD in Public Policy at King's College, London, which examined the motivations and interests of various actors in the policy process around the regulation of professions, using a mixed methods design. Outside of academia, Chris enjoyed a successful career as in the public and private sectors delivering social policy research and consultancy. Before entering academic, he was Director of Policy and Deputy Chief Executive of the Hearing Aid Council. This executive Non-Departmental Public Body was abolished and its statutory regulation functions transferred to the Health and Care Professions Council in the summer of 2010. Chris has a proven track record of winning and managing research and consultancy contracts, for clients in central government departments, NDPBs, local authorities and charities. These range from a three year, £1.5m programme evaluation for the Department for Communities and Local Government (delivered with academic and market research partners, and delivered on time and on budget and with published outputs) through to small, intensive research projects delivered with a small team. His social policy experience covers housing, criminal justice, public health, health and social care and professions regulation. Chris is a former Chair of Housing in an inner London borough, former non-executive director of a large housing association and former non-executive director of a regeneration company.
PhD in Public Policy from King's College, London (2015)
MSc in Public Policy from Queen Mary, University of London (2010)
BA in Law and Politics, Durham University (1991)
Chris is interested in the purpose, design, implementation and effect of public sector reform, particularly in areas where areas of social policy interact and where collaboration or partnership working to deliver prevention and integration are seen as likely means of delivering results. Much of Chris’s work is around the interaction or gaps between different areas of social policy, and he is particularly interested in the challenges of public sector reform in relation to people with multiple, complex and sometimes chaotic needs.
Chris is fascinated with current debate around evidence-informed policy and how this sits with concepts of complex adaptive systems, knowledge problems and fundamental uncertainty. Chris is particularly interested in what this means for policy makers and the policy making process. His research interests include the political economy of public policy, particularly how economic models can be used to understand policy change and the policy process. Chris is particularly interested in Public Choice models of bureaucratic behaviour.
My other research interests include the policy process around the formation and development of professions and professions regulation. Developing a theory of professions as economic institutions. The impact of institutional design on rational actors in the policy process. The limits of rationality, bounded rationality and impact of fundamental uncertainty.Chris currently manages and delivers a number of projects, including:
Evaluation and research programme for Interserve Justice. Providing a range of evaluation and research services to support Interserve Justice’s management of five Community Rehabilitation Companies. Funded by Interserve Justice (2015 – 18).
Innovative Social Investment: Strengthening communities in Europe (InnoSI). This Horizon2020 project started in May 2015 and deploys multidisciplinary research on innovative ways of implementing and financing social welfare that promise lasting benefits. Its aims are to identify and evaluate existing innovative and strategic approaches to social welfare reform at a regional and local level; explore social and psychological impact of these innovations on individuals and communities; and collate useful, practical learning from this new body of evidence and mobilise it to inform policy and practice across the EU. Funded by the European Commission (2015 – 18).
K. Albertson, C. Fox (2018). Payment by Results and Social Impact Bonds Outcome-based Payment Systems in the UK and US. Policy Press.
CP. O'Leary (2019). Public Service Motivation: a rationalist critique. Public Personnel Management. 48(1), pp.82-96.
C. O'Leary, S. Baines, G. Bailey, T. McNeill, J. Csoba, et al. (2018). Innovation and Social Investment Programmes in Europe. European Policy Analysis. 4(2), pp.294-312.
CP. O'Leary (2015). gency termination in the UK: what factors explain the ‘bonfire of the quangos’?. WEST EUROPEAN POLITICS. 38(6), pp.1327-1344.
C. O'Leary (2013). The role of stable accommodation in reducing recidivism: what does the evidence tell us?. Safer Communities. 12(1), pp.5-12.
J. Hind-Ozan, C. O'Leary, S. Baines, G. Bailey (2019). Troubled Families in Greater Manchester. In: Implementing innovative social investment. Policy Press,
CP. O'Leary, C. Fox (2018). Understanding the potential policy impact of a European longitudinal survey for children and young people. In: Measuring Youth Well-being How a Pan-European Longitudinal Survey Can Improve Policy. Springer,
CP. O'Leary (2017). A Rapid Evidence Review of the Use of Payment by Results in Social Care. Singapore, 28/6/2017.
S. Baines, C. fox, K. Albertson, C. O'Leary, G. Bailey Social Impact Bonds and two meanings of "Social Investment". London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and RAND Europe, 12/9/2016.
CP. O'Leary Homelessness from the private rented sector. MetroPolis Manchester Metropolitan University, Residential Landlords' Association.
CP. O'Leary, J. Ozan, A. Bradbury (2017). Grandmentors review: final report for Volunteering Matters. Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) at Manchester Metropolitan University, Volunteering Matters.
G. Pollock, J. Ozan, R. Baldwin, H. Goswani, CP. O'Leary, et al. (2016). D7.2: Evaluation report: Cost benefit analysis of an ELSCYP, projected operational field costs, operational practice in longitudinal surveys. European Commission, European Commission.
CP. O'Leary, D. Hunter, S. Visram, L. Adams, R. Finn, et al. (2015). Interim report no. 2: Mapping the configuration and operation of Health and Wellbeing Boards across England. Durham University, National Institute for Health Research.
CP. O'Leary, J. Linney, A. Weiss (2010). Understanding the financial benefits of local handypersons services. Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Communities and Local Government.