Catherine studied Applied Sociology at the University of Leicester. She initially worked as a researcher for the then Oxford Polytechnic before becoming a Senior Research Officer with Essex County Council. She then moved to Hertfordshire County Council as a Principal Research Officer before taking up a post as a Research Associate with the University of Hull. She joined the University in 1991 and gained an MA in Policy Studies (with Distinction) in 1998. Catherine was elected to the Executive of the Social Policy Association in 1998 and undertook a range of roles including chairing the Association’s Teaching and Learning and Shadow Benchmarking Groups. She served as Honorary Secretary of the Social Policy Association from 2002-2006. Catherine was selected as a managing co-editor of the journal of Social Policy & Society in 2010 (with Hugh Bochel), having previously served as an elected member of the editorial board for the period 2000-2003. She was also co-editor of Social Policy Review from 2000-2003.
Catherine has wide-ranging research interests across public and social policy, local government and the policy process. Current research interests include petitions systems, participation, the policy process, and local government councillors. She has co-authored or co-edited seven books and is the author or co-author of over 30 chapters and journal articles. She was awarded a British Academy Small Grant in 2011 to undertake research into ‘Understanding Effective Petitions Systems’. This led to an invitation to take part in a private seminar co-hosted by the Hansard Society and the Backbench Business Committee to discuss possible reforms to the Coalition government’s e-petitions system. She was also invited to give oral evidence to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee for its inquiry into the impact of the Wright reforms, on her research into petitions systems and featured in the Committee’s report, which accepted and made a number of recommendations in response to her criticisms of the current system. In its response to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee’s report the Government accepted a number of her recommendations.
Catherine contributes to a number of modules within the School of Social & Political Sciences, including Ideology into Practice, Diversity, Difference and Exclusion, Understanding the Policy Process, Analysing the Policy Process and the Independent Study. She frequently draws upon her research experience to provide examples and insights into topics. Catherine also supervises a number of MPhil and PhD students. In 2008 Catherine established a ‘Women into Research’ network in the University. This aimed to encourage more women to get involved in research and to promote a broader research culture in the University. She received a University Individual Merit Award for her work on this. Catherine stepped down from this role in the summer of 2010, but the network continues.
Programme Leader and Admissions Tutor for B.A. (Hons.) Social Policy. Module coordinator for Ideology into Practice and Understanding the Policy Process. Coordinator of the College of Social Science Research Seminar Series. School representative on the External Relations and Income Committee. Coordinator of the Student Placement Scheme with local councils. School representative on the JUC Public Administration Committee.