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Spotlight on Ian Kessler (Professor of Public Policy and Management, King’s Business School)


ReWAGE is fortunate in having some of the UK’s foremost thinkers on its Expert Group, drawn from leading universities and research organisations from across the UK.

This week we are turning the spotlight onto ReWAGE expert Ian Kessler who is Professor of Public Policy and Management at King’s Business School.


Ian joined King’s College London in September 2012, after almost 25 years at the University of Oxford.

Ian’s research focus is employment relations in the public sector, exploring themes such as union organisation, industrial action, pay determination and work organisation in the sector. Over the last decade he has been researching nursing support roles in a variety of healthcare settings, and the general re-structuring of the healthcare workforce. In 2005, he was a commissioner on the Local Government Pay Commission. In 2014 he acted as special adviser to the House of Commons Local Government and Communities Select Committee inquiry of senior management pay. In 2018 he was a member of the Health Education England (HEE) scrutiny committee on the nursing associate role. Since 2019 he has been Deputy Director of the NIHR Health and Social Workforce Research Unit within the Policy Institute at King’s (and is currently acting Director).

Ian has also advised the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives, the Staff Side of the NHS Staff Council, the Police Federation, the Audit Commission and the National Audit Office.

Area of expertise:

Employee voice, dimensions of pay and reward, training and development and different aspects of employment relations in the British public services.

Why Ian became a ReWAGE expert:

In wake of the Covid pandemic ReWAGE provided an exciting opportunity to work with academic peers and colleagues in examining the current state and future development of the employment relationship, and a means of connecting with policy makers and practitioners in taking this employment relations agenda forward.

What achievement makes Ian most proud:

Retaining close contact with and producing research findings of value to policy makers and practitioners, particularly at employer and workplace level in the NHS. This is reflected in research work and policy evaluation for HEE and NHS England on the training and development of healthcare support workers and on the introduction into the NHS of supported employment programmes for young people with disabilities and lived experience of homelessness.

Current projects

Ealy Attrition amongst Healthcare Support Workers

The Supply and Demand of Therapists for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

The Impact of Covid on employment relations in healthcare (with Nick Krachler and Stephen Bach)

The Implementation of the Nursing Associate Role in Social Care

Other interests:

Theatre, Tottenham Hotspur and cinema.

Recent publications

· Patterns of Employment amongst Nursing Associates: Evidence from the Electronic Staff RecordLink opens in a new window

· Access to Employment in NHS Health Care Support Worker Roles for People with Lived Experience of Homelessness: Programme Evaluation Final ReportLink opens in a new window

· Ownership power and managing a professional workforce: General practitioners and the employment of physician associatesLink opens in a new window

· The public sector as a distinctive employer: Resilience and renewal?Link opens in a new window

· Evaluating the introduction of the Nursing Associate role in social careLink opens in a new window

ReWAGE’s Expert Group is uniquely placed to offer the government informed practical advice and policy recommendations to support its strategic response to the recovery and renewal of work and employment in the UK as it tackles the impact of Covid-19 and other challenges.