Meet the Board: Patrick Diamond

18 June 2018

Dr. Patrick Diamond is a Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at Queen Mary, University of London. He was also a Senior Adviser in Number 10 and the Cabinet Office for over 10 years. Patrick Diamond has authored a number of books and reports on social and public policy, and is a former Councillor in the London Borough of Southwark.

What is your social science background?
Patrick Diamond (PD): I am a political scientist by training. I have undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of Cambridge in social and political sciences, and a doctorate from the University of Sheffield in political science. I now teach policy analysis and politics at Queen Mary, University of London.

Why did you decide to pursue a social-science focused career?
PD: I spent the first decade of my career working in public policy and government where social science skills were invaluable. A lot of policy-making in government is about sifting through and interpreting various streams of knowledge and evidence. The diversity of social science evidence that is available to governments and policy-makers has increased enormously in recent decades. A lot of attention is given to the potential of ‘mega-data’ which is undoubtedly going to be very important, but new approaches to ethnography and specialist qualitative research with user populations is going to be just as influential in the future.

How have your social science skills benefited you in your career?
PD: Hugely! It is difficult to engage in policy-making today without having a deep understanding of some of the core concepts in social science. I also hope that my social science training has made me better equipped to understand the needs of key groups, particularly vulnerable populations. I started my career working in think-tanks where social science skills are absolutely invaluable.

What motivated you to join the Campaign Board and what do you hope to achieve?
PD: I think every generation has to remake the case for the importance of sustained investment in social science. But it isn’t just about money or resources; I want to play a role in raising the profile of social science so that the immense contribution of social science expertise to a fair and prosperous society is properly recognised. The Campaign for Social Science has done brilliant work thus far, and I want to help sustain this effort.

What are some interesting upcoming projects you’re working on?
PD: My current projects include an edited collection with two colleagues looking at the social science of Brexit, and a short volume on institutional change and policy-making in Whitehall. I am in the process of working up a new project on the role of economics in public policy formulation in government.