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Dr Michael Orton

Research interests

Michael's current focus in on social security (welfare benefits), in particular as Secretary to the White Paper Commission on Social Security, led by Experts by Experience.

Michael's perspective is redressing poverty and socio-economic insecurity and using methodologies that are solutions focused, participatory and consensus building.

Academic profile

Michael joined IER in 2002. Prior to that he worked for over 15 years in the voluntary sector and local government. This included Citizens Advice Bureau (from being a volunteer through to Bureau Manager), an anti-poverty policy role in a local authority Finance Department, and being an Investigator for the Local Government Ombudsman - with the latter including a year working for the New South Wales Ombudsman, Sydney.

While Michael's current work focuses on social security, other research areas have included active labour market policy, debt, taxation/fiscal welfare, public attitudes to economic inequality and Sen's Capabilities Approach.

Michael's work has been published widely in journal articles, research reports and book chapters. He has appeared as an expert witness before a Parliamentary Committee Inquiry, and his work has featured in Parliamentary Questions and attracted a variety of media coverage.

Current/recent projects

  • White Paper Commission on Social Security, led by Experts by Experience (Trust for London)
  • Identifying how to put the 'security' back into social security (UK Social Policy Association)
  • A theory of practice and change for a world without poverty (Webb Memorial Trust)

All projects

Selected recent publications

All publications







Senior Research Fellow

Institute for Employment Research
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL

@MichaelOrton9 (Twitter - in a personal capacity)