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Lincoln Psychology Graduate Meets Theresa May

Alex Parkin graduated in from the University of Lincoln in September 2017 and has since cofounded the Counselling Hub in Lincoln with fellow counsellor, Naomi Watkins. The Hub offers mental health and wellbeing support to the local community, providing both counselling sessions and training for new and existing counsellors. Read more on their website

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Today’s GET WORK READY Event!

Today is the day of GET WORK READY!

Here is a reminder of what to expect:

GET WORK READY will take place in SSB0103 (Sarah Swift building) from 4pm today and is an opportunity to have your work experience questions answered as well as meet organisations who currently offer work experience to University of Lincoln students.

We can confirm that the following organisations will be attending:

· Lincolnshire County Council – Adult, Childrens, and Member Services departments.


· Home Start

· South Yorkshire Housing Association



· Lincolnshire Action Trust

· Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust

Staff from Careers and Employability and past students will be present and will be giving optional talks from 4.30pm – 5.30pm although you can also ask one-to-one questions throughout the event.

GET WORK READY will also be promoting the new Work Experience Opportunities Hub that is launching as a pilot to support a number of Schools within the College of Social Science this year.

The aim of the Hub will be to support staff and students where work experience is a requirement of a credit bearing module.

Free refreshments will be on offer and students will also receive a goodie bag.

There will also be a free raffle with a number of prizes to win including College of Social Science hoodies and Easter eggs.

Don’t worry if you haven’t registered your attendance on our Eventbrite page, everyone is invited to simply turn up to SSB0103 between 4pm and 6pm.

Attendance to this event counts towards the Lincoln Award so bring your books to be signed off.

College of Social Science Enterprise Working Group (EWG) ‘Presentation Masterclass’

On Monday 18th June, the College of Social Science Enterprise Working Group (EWG) has arranged a ‘Presentation Masterclass’. This training event will be delivered at the Professional Development Centre by Paul McGee. Paul is a highly experienced and sought-after trainer who delivers keynote addresses and training courses to international audiences. This day is specifically designed to equip academics and other key college staff to present effectively to commercial, industry or popular audiences. The training will cover:

  • The 7 major mistakes people make when they’re communicating with others, the damaging impact they have… and how to avoid them.
  • How to maximise engagement and increase your influence when communicating your message.
  • How to project confidence and credibility and conquer anxiety.
  • How to pitch your message to minimise resistance and maximise buy-in.

 You can hear what Drew Povey, star of Channel 4’s ‘Educating Manchester,’ made of the Presentation Masterclass here and Paul McGee describes the class in his own words in the first half of this clip

 The EWG would like to maximise attendance and this masterclass is limited to 24 delegates.

 If you would like to attend the presentation masterclass, please respond to Jo Haresign by 31st March, confirming that you are available for the whole day on 18th June. Secondly, please give a short account (one or two sentences) of how you plan to use the training in enterprise and/or income generating activities.

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Research Seminar | Identifying Barriers Experienced by Autistic Jobseekers and Work Coaches

The unfolding autism prevalence and the high unemployment rates among autistic people have led to an increase in demand for employment support mechanisms. Although UK government legislation recommends the development of evidence-based needs-led services for autistic jobseekers, there is limited research to guide employment service provision. Thus, engaging the autistic community in the research processes to develop needs-led services and practices in a manner that is mutually beneficial and meaningful is of great importance. Unfortunately, current action research models in this area often lack social acceptability or fidelity and only offer its participants a passive recipient’s role, thereby being of limited relevance to end-users.
Using a community-based participatory research approach, this project integrates psychology and human resource management to produce evidence-based information for the development of protocols to deliver needs-led work-search review meetings with autistic jobseekers. This work will be used to inform policy development and the reformulation of current professional practices employed by Disability Advisors and Work Coaches in Jobcentres across the UK.


Senior Lecturer/Programme Lead Department of People and Organisation in the Lincoln International Business School, Dr John Mendy is leading the research seminar, which is titled “Identifying needs and barriers experienced by autistic jobseekers and work coaches at the Jobcentre’s work search review meetings: A community-based participatory research project”, which is taking place on 14th March 2018 from 16:00 to 17:00 in LM0103 (this is located on the ground floor of the David Chiddick Building in the Executive Development Centre)


This is a free event and all are welcome to attend.

Sarah Swift Artwork Competition | Deadline Extended

Due to the weather conditions we have decided to extend the deadline for the Sarah Swift Artwork Competition to Monday 5th March. Please bring your submissions to Bridge House (behind the Stephen Langton Building and through the tunnel). Staff will be in today and Monday between 9am and 3pm, just knock and someone will come let you in.

If you have any problems at all you can email or tweet us at @UL_CSS

Thank you to everyone who has already submitted artwork, it’s all looking amazing.

You can view the competition brief here

Changing Times? The Shifting Gender Balance of Scottish Parliament Committee Witnesses

University of Lincoln School of Social and Political Sciences Professor Hugh Bochel discusses his research into the shifting gender balance of Scottish Parliament.

In the Scottish Parliament, as in other legislatures, committees are an important part of the parliamentary structure. The combination of executive and legislative oversight means that they play a major role in scrutinising the policies and legislation of the Scottish Government, while they are also able to hold a variety of public bodies, and indeed others, accountable for their actions, not least through gathering written and oral evidence, the publication of reports, and their access to the media. Their interaction with external actors also provides a potentially important linkage between parliament and civil society. In addition, there are clear links with the principles on which the Parliament was founded, such as power-sharing, accountability, openness, participation and equal opportunities, support for which was reiterated by the Commission on Parliamentary Reform in 2017. Committees also potentially provide one means of participation, and thus ‘presence’, in non-electoral elements of the democratic process. Understanding how they gather evidence and which voices they hear from is therefore of considerable importance for the committees themselves, Parliament and Scottish society. However, there have been concerns that the committees have been hearing from the ‘usual suspects’, and in particular those that might be categorised as professionals representing a limited range of interests and consisting largely of white, middle-class men.

From the perspective of committees, there are a number of potential benefits from accessing a diversity of voices, including in oral evidence, such as:

  • hearing claims made on behalf of some groups which may not always be well represented in the legislature and providing a variety of perspectives to improve scrutiny of policy and legislation;
  • benefiting from additional insights providing external challenges to policy and legislation;
  • increasing the extent to which parliaments are seen to be engaging with and representative of society; and
  • demonstrating a commitment to broader democracy by hearing from a wide range of voices.

In order to consider the degree of diversity of witnesses giving oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s committees, this research drew on analysis of data provided by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) on witnesses from the parliamentary years 1999-2000, 2015-16 and the first ten months of 2016-17, and 38 interviews with MSPs and parliamentary staff, as well as relevant literatures. The research focused primarily on gender diversity, but sought to note issues associated with diversity more broadly.

Over the period since its creation the Parliament’s committees appear to have seen an increase in the proportion of witnesses who are women, although there are very significant differences between committees in terms of both the number and gender of witnesses (Figures 1 and 2). Some, such as Health and Sport, Public Audit and Education and Culture committees in 2015/16, and the Equalities and Human Rights, Health and Sport and Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny committees in the first ten months of 2016/17, have had women as around half or more of their witnesses; at the same time, a number of committees have had women as one-fifth or fewer of witnesses.

Berthier and Bouchel image 1

Figure 1: Percentages of male and female witnesses, 1999-2000, 2015-16 and 2016-17 (first ten months)

There are likely to be both ‘demand’ and ‘supply’ factors contributing to these figures. For example, it is possible to identify differences among the organisations that provide witnesses, with non-profit and NHS bodies tending to provide higher proportions of female witnesses, while the Scottish Government, trade unions, local authorities, private companies and Police Scotland tend to provide more men. However, as with other legislatures, it is also important to recognise that these figures will be skewed in different directions by other factors, such as the particular topic of inquiries, and the gender balance among ministers and senior officials.

There is also considerable reliance upon ‘representative bodies’ for the supply of witnesses, which, at least in some respects, would appear to align the Parliament more with the practices of some of the Nordic states than with Westminster, although both approaches can be seen as having their own strengths and weaknesses in terms of the voices heard.

Berthier and Bouchel image 2

Figure 2: Number and gender of witnesses by committee, 2015-16

Interview respondents tended to emphasise that the key issue with regard to witnesses was about enabling good scrutiny and holding the government to account, and for this, ‘it is very important to have a high-quality evidence base’, although there was perhaps less agreement about what might constitute that. Both the quality of information and hearing from a broader range of views were seen as important in contributing to scrutiny. These perspectives are not necessarily incompatible, but rather reflect different views of the paths that committees can take in seeking to undertake informed, high quality scrutiny. In addition, some interviewees emphasised that one of the purposes of having witnesses is to provide Parliament with a range of views; others noted that the selection of witnesses also matters as it can send a message to people outside Parliament about how Parliament works, what it is interested in and who it listens to.

Many interviewees suggested that there might be a tendency to call upon the ‘usual suspects’, and there was considerable support for greater engagement with other parts of Scottish society, but at the same time both officials and MSPs also highlighted important characteristics of witnesses that arguably makes the involvement of the ‘usual suspects’ more likely. For officials, these included a desire to have witnesses who could usefully inform the committee (expertise), a view that panels should generally be ‘politically balanced’ in relation to the topic, and the ability of witnesses to ‘perform’, with clerks and Members having confidence in them. In addition, ‘representing’ an issue or sector, or being seen as a key stakeholder, was seen as a valuable characteristic. However, some interviewees also questioned whether these characteristics were always the most valuable, and, for example, suggested that while senior representatives of an organisation would be able to give clear views on particular issues, they could sometimes make it harder for committees to get to know what happens on the front line.

Committees receive evidence in a number of different forms and through a variety of different paths. In addition to oral evidence, the most obvious source is written evidence, which interviewees clearly identified as vital in informing the work of the committees. But committees also utilise a variety of other forms of information gathering, including less formal activities, such as visits, breakfast meetings and the use of social media. Such initiatives were seen by interviewees as valuable for a variety of reasons: they can provide different views from those typically received in both written and oral evidence; they can therefore provide different drivers and directions for inquiries; and they can help focus Members’ minds and allow them to explore issues with those delivering and receiving services. At present, despite the perceived value of such informal mechanisms, some interviewees suggested that they do not always get sufficient prominence in reports, and indeed they are not always recorded as part of the formal evidence. There was also a recognition that such initiatives in terms of engagement and diversity have so far been rather ad hoc, with different committees trying different things, although more recently there has been a move towards better and more consistent testing and dissemination of the results and learning across committees. There was also a recognition among many of those interviewed that efforts to engage with a wider range of groups and to hear different voices may require different approaches and additional resources.


It is clearly important that witnesses and evidence make a meaningful contribution to the work of committees, and thus to parliamentary scrutiny of government. That is likely to require both expertise and input from a variety of perspectives, including from those who will be involved in implementing and who will be affected by policy and legislation. The voices sought and heard will therefore inevitably vary with the topic being considered, and it seems reasonable that committees should be able to decide which witnesses and forms of evidence are most appropriate for individual inquiries.

Nevertheless, given that there are both ‘demand’ and ‘supply’ dimensions that affect the characteristics of witnesses, there is scope to provide additional guidance to committees and organisations that might reinforce the requirements of different types of inquiry and encourage a broader reflection of Scottish society. Similarly, monitoring and publication of the characteristics of witnesses, including not only gender, but potentially other protected characteristics and age, would provide more information; similarly, recording witnesses’ home postcodes would provide an indicator of geographic spread and allow an element of linkage to socio-economic characteristics.

In addition, recording informal meetings and similar events in the reports of inquires would better reflect the nature of the evidence gathered by committees, and the range of voices being heard, while at the same time helping make clear to those who engage through such means that their voices are being heard.

Finally, of course, it is arguable that the very act of requiring those who select witnesses to think about their diversity (or otherwise), may itself encourage them to think differently, for example about the representation of particular groups, and that might in turn increase diversity further.

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Snow disruption update


A reminder to staff and students that due to the severe weather conditions currently affecting travel and public transport services across Lincolnshire, the University of Lincoln has taken the decision to suspend teaching at its Brayford and Riseholme campuses today. All teaching and contact hours with personal tutors which are disrupted will be rescheduled.

The University will remain open to support students on campus with key services available, including the Library (from 9am), Student Services, catering outlets, Security and ICT Helpdesk. The College Executive Office is currently open in Bridge House, but is running a limited service.

Conditions will continue to be monitored over the next 24 hours and further information will be circulated on Twitter, Facebook, and via the University’s website.

Seminar: An Introduction to Grounded Theory

Reposted from Staff News: 

On Wednesday 28th February, Dr Julie Pattinson, Research  Assistant at the School of Health and Social Care will give a seminar entitled ‘Grounded Theory’.

This is part of the Community and Health Research Unit seminar series.

Grounded Theory is a research method used by qualitative researchers in the Social Sciences. The talk will focus on the wider idea of Grounded Theory as a methodology, its origins in sociology (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) and how it can be applied to numerous disciplines.

The seminar will take place from 10:00am-11:00am in DCB1107 (David Chiddick building). Booking is not required.

Research Impact: A Funder’s Perspective talk | 28th February

Mark Taylor is Head of Impact for the Central Commissioning Facility of the National Institute for Health Research. Mark will be talking about the importance of impact from a funder’s perspective and how they frame and evaluate impact within the commissioning process.

Julie Bayley will be discussing her experience of evaluating the impact of specific research funding streams and offering her thoughts on how funders understand and evaluate impact.

These talks will be of value to all academics interested in planning and increasing the impact of their research.

Lunch is provided and there is no need to book, just turn up.

For further information, email

Coming up | College of Social Science ‘Get Work Ready’ Event

Want to make yourself employable and enhance your CV?  Come along to the College of Social Science’s GET WORK READY event on 14th March in the Sarah Swift building to find out more about how to get work experience and the opportunities available to you.

Speak to organisations who currently offer experience for University of Lincoln students, such as Lincolnshire County Council and YMCA Sport.

Staff from Careers and Employability will be present to answer your CV or work experience questions and will also give a talk at 4.30pm about how to make the most of your time in the work place. Past students from the university will be returning to talk about their own work experience and how it has helped them in their careers. Students can also ask one-to-one questions throughout the event.

GET WORK READY will also be promoting the new Work Experience Opportunities Hub that is launching as a pilot to support a number of Schools within the College of Social Science this year. The aim of the Hub will be to support staff and students where work experience is a requirement of a credit bearing module. There will be a stand for the Hub at GET WORK READY to find out more information.

Free refreshments will be on offer and students will also receive a goodie bag filled with some essentials for student life.

To attend, simply visit to state your interest and join us in SSB0103, Sarah Swift building from 4pm until 6pm on Wednesday 14th March. Optional talks will take place from 4pm-5.30pm.

Attendance to this event counts towards the Lincoln Award.