At the moment, I’m working on a new project at the University of Brighton about the experience of debt, and the role that credit rating agencies play in shaping people’s lives.
I’ve recently finished working on a University of Bristol research project that tracked people who took their employer to a tribunal, and looked at how their ‘legal consciousness’ developed. We found that most people believe they are far more protected by employment law than they actually are – and they usually only discover this after they’ve been mistreated by an employer. In 2012, the qualifying period – the amount of time you need to have worked for an employer before you can take them to a tribunal – changed from one year to two, and in 2013, tribunal fees of £1,200 were introduced, which changed the employment rights landscape significantly. Doing the research, I became especially interested in the way people assume the law is a kind of moral code in writing, rather than a tool. A power tool.
I run Renters’ Rights London, a project funded by anti-poverty charity Trust For London to raise the political and legal awareness of London’s 2.3 million private renters, and to encourage London councils to do more to protect them from bad landlords.
In 2014 I worked on an inquiry into the voluntary sector’s relationship with government, for the National Coalition for Independent Action. I co-authored a paper on working conditions in the sector in the face of public spending cuts, and asked whether trade unions are helping.
In 2013 I worked on a research project for the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at LSE, looking at economic resilience and responses to welfare reform in Newham, east London. I recruited and interviewed 60 participants, asking them about their finances, their work, their housing and their families. Some were social tenants affected by the bedroom tax, which had been introduced that year, but lots represented the new face of poverty in London: households who work full time and rent privately.