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University Chancellor addresses conference

26th September 2019

The Rt Hon Baroness Grey-Thompson has given a keynote address at the Joint University Council’s Public Administration Committee (PAC) Annual Conference held recently at Northumbria University.

This year’s conference, ‘Public Administration and Social Work at the Margins’ showcased the latest research in public policy and public management including collaborative governance and addressing issues around marginalisation. Organised by Dr Ian C. Elliott, Senior Lecturer in Public Leadership and Management at Northumbria’s Newcastle Business School, the conference was attended by leading academics from across the UK and overseas.

As Chancellor of Northumbria University, Baroness Grey-Thompson was invited to deliver this year’s Frank Stacey Memorial Lecture, and she spoke on issues of marginalisation. Reflecting on her childhood, her Olympic sporting achievements and, most recently, her time in the House of Lords, Baroness Grey-Thompson spoke in depth about discrimination against disabled people, the role of sport in society and the impact of recent welfare reforms.

This year’s conference covered some of society’s most significant challenges and sought to explore how public policy and public management can address these by informing better policy, public service design and delivery. A keynote academic lecture was also delivered by Professor Barbara Crosby, from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, on “Integrative Leadership in Tumultuous Times: Claiming the Center”

Commenting on the success of the conference Dr Elliott explained: “The annual PAC conference is an eagerly anticipated event for those involved as educators, researchers or practitioners in public policy and administration, and we were delighted Baroness Grey-Thompson was able to join us this year. Her thoughts and insights were both deeply moving and highly informative. Her call to ‘have the nerve to keep challenging’ was greatly appreciated by the delegates. Professor Crosby’s lecture was another highlight of the conference, and well received by her audience.

“Spread over three days with lively and engaging debates and excellent speakers, we discussed new approaches to public service design and delivery including the role of complexity approaches, strategic leadership and coproduction. We also had a number of well-attended academic-practitioner roundtable discussions on issues including Brexit. The JUC Public Administration Committee also launched their new position statements on the REF Post-2021 and the QAA Subject Benchmark Statements for Business and Management”

Newcastle Business School is a leader in public policy and pubic management research and teaching and works in partnership with numerous organisations to offer training and other collaborative support. It has recently launched a new MSc Strategic Leadership for Public Services course as a bespoke Senior Leaders Master’s Degree Apprenticeship designed to support public service employers within the North-East and across the UK.

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