Tales from Houghton Street: Julian Le Grand


Julian Le Grand
Clara Cook
Relationship to LSE
1978-present. 1985-87 Director of Welfare State Programme, STICERD. 1993-present Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy
Academic life at LSE; Teaching at LSE; Research at LSE; LSE in the 1970s; LSE in the 1980s; LSE in the 1990s; LSE in the 2000s; Campus; London; Notable people; Future of LSE


Track 1 [33:31] [Session one: 26 August 2015] Professor Julian Le Grand [JLG], born 1945. LSE 1978-present. 1985-87 Director of Welfare State Programme, STICERD. 1993-present Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at LSE. First came to LSE in 1978 [00:40] and stayed until 1987 [00:44], the worked at the University of Bristol and returned to LSE in 1993 [00:50] and then worked at 10 Downing Street [00:58] from 2003 – 2005, after which he returned to LSE [01:10]. JLG talks about his first impressions of LSE [01:20] including walking on campus in the rain with Professor Terrance Gorman [01:29] and thinking LSE was not as nice as other campuses, specifically the campus of Sussex University [01:52]. JLG states that he now loves LSE [02:00] and explains what changed his mind [02:11]. JLG explains that he sees himself as a quintessential LSE person [02:20] and talks about the different parts of the LSE that he has worked in [02:32] – the Economics Department, STICERD at LSE and the Social Policy Department [02:46]. JLG is about to join the Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship at LSE [02:53]. JLG talks about how he enjoys the chance to work in interdisciplinary fields at LSE [03:00] and work with colleagues who specialise in a range of interdisciplinary areas [03:27]. JLG values the ability to work with a range of highly stimulating colleagues across an enormous range of subjects [03:40]. JLG values working with and teaching the postgraduate students at LSE [03:59] and describes how brilliant they are [04:47]. JLG explains how he relishes LSE’s location [05:00] and its proximity to government [05:05]. JLG talks about his role at the LSE has changed over the years [05:30] including being asked by Prof Tony Atkinson to work on the Welfare State Programme in 1985 at STICERD [05:43]. JLG explains that he worked with some extraordinary people including [06:00] Mervyn King, Tony Atkinson, Richard Layard, Nick Stern, John Hills, Anne Power [07:00]. JLG describes going to work at the University of Bristol as a Professor of Public Policy [07:30] and returning to LSE to become the Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy [08:00]. JLG talks about how he really remembers certain students [08:29] who were rewarding to teach [08:42] but also from whom he has learnt a lot himself [08:45]. JLG describes the contacts with government [09:08] and the Senior Dining Room [09:10] and the people that pass through it. JLG states that it is his favourite place on campus [10:18]. JLG talks about having very few problems with LSE [10:40] but does explain to having some difficulties in the field of Economics [11:19]. JLG refers to there not being enough space on campus [11:50] and that perhaps faculty at LSE, himself included, should have done more teaching [12:09]. JLG talks about the academic experience students receive at LSE [12:15]. JLG talks about how the LSE campus has changed in his time at the School [12:49] and the changes in the Department of Social Policy, including numbers of staff, teaching ratings and resources [12:55]. JLG explains how the LSE library has grown [14:16] and that the development of IT means that faculty go to the library less and less [14:30]. JLG talks about the development of IT at LSE [14:40]. JLG explains that he believes that although LSE has expanded in size with more students [15:30] it has not changed in nature [15:49]. JLG thinks that LSE is not in need of any huge transformation of any kind in the future [16:15] and thinks the LSE could grow a bit bigger. JLG explains he thinks LSE will carry on in much the same way it has always operated [16:40]. JLG talks about access to the media at LSE [17:12] and the media having access to the LSE faculty [17:30] and that academics should not live in an ivory tower but should have relationships with the outside world. JLG explains about influencing policy makers while at LSE [18:22] and that it was easier at LSE to do this than at other higher education institutions [19:03]. JLG talks about the difference between working in academia and working in government [20:21]. JLG describes working at 10 Downing Street [20:30] and the challenges he experienced [21:20] going from an academic way of working [21:48] to a very fast paced and demanding environment in the prime minister’s employ [22:00]. JLG talks about working to a tight deadline imposed by Prime Minister Tony Blair [22:51] and about how Blair would mark his work [24:10]. JLG explains about the responsibility of advising the government on social policy [24:37] and that he wishes academics could be a bit more responsible with their research and comments [25:40]. JLG explains how some of his colleagues see his involvement with the political world as a contamination and that he ceases to be an objective analyst by working with politicians [27:50]. JLG explains that LSE is a place where people are not always objective anyway [29:43] and that LSE has a history of being involved with social reform [30:35]. One of the great advantages of working at LSE is that you can work with policy makers without it damaging your academic career [31:00]. JLG briefly describes what the Director’s parties are like [31:57].

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