School of Sociology and Social Policy

Laura Anne Hickman

ESRC DTC PhD Student and Part-Time Teacher, Faculty of Social Sciences


Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (full-time) - currently registered

Research Topic Title

The experiences of front-line staff working directly with benefit claimants

Research Summary

My PhD research is a qualitative project looking at the experiences of staff employed by the Department for Work and Pensions and Local Authorities who work face-to-face or over the telephone with benefit claimants. The study investigates what these roles involve, what effects this type of work has on staff and explores whether social security reforms and changes to working environments have altered staff interactions with claimants. I also hope to find out how staff manage any difficult interactions at work and whether they feel there is enough support offered by their employer. I am particularly interested in uncovering how changes as a result of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 may have impacted staff as they are required to be the face of the benefit reforms and are currently experiencing a period of major upheaval in their workplaces.

Research Supervisors

Primary Funding Source

ESRC Doctoral Training Centre

Research Centre Memberships

International Centre for Public and Social Policy

Identities, Citizenship, Equalities and Migration Centre

Past Research

In January 2019 I completed a research report funded by the Students' Union for the University of Nottingham's Teaching and Learning Board exploring the experiences of students from low income backgrounds at the University of Nottingham, focusing on their experiences of belonging and inductions, academic support and careers guidance.

School of Sociology and Social Policy

Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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