Martin Stevens

Our colleague Martin Stevens, who has died aged 57, was Senior Research Fellow here at the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce. Martin joined our Unit’s predecessor at King’s, the Social Care Workforce Research Unit in 2004, and for 18 years he was a central figure within the team.

Martin’s first research post was at Hampshire Social Services Department, where he undertook work on community care, child protection and learning disability services, and completed his PhD (University of Portsmouth) on family group conferences. His BA had been in philosophy at the University of Southampton, following which he had worked for five years in a residential service for people with learning disabilities. He also gained an MSc in social research.

At King’s, Martin developed his research expertise in adult safeguarding, personalisation and learning disability services – and is widely published in these fields. His interest in learning disabilities services and their workforces led to his convening our popular seminar series on the topic – this has been running since 2014 and will continue, with three more webinars already planned for 2022.

During his research career he chaired the UK Social Services Research Group and led on social care for the Local Area Research and Intelligence Association. And since 2019 he had been advising other researchers, both new and old to research, in the setting up of studies at the NIHR Research Design Service.

He was, until recently, chair of the Health Research Authority Social Care Research Ethics Committee. As colleagues we benefited hugely from his expertise in this area. Whether seeking initial ethical approval for projects or dealing with problems as studies unfolded, Martin was always humane and empathic. One felt his interest in philosophy at these times. He was also a union member and encouraged others to value the union, as part of a wider commitment to social justice.

Latterly, Martin’s research had a focus on mental health, leading two projects on the professionals who work with the Mental Health Act, both commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care. He remained the chair of the Good Mental Health Co-operative Committee up until his death.

We will all miss Martin greatly as a funny, talented and generous colleague.

Martin Stevens, 18 April 1964 – 21 March 2022

If you wish to share your memories of Martin, please add them below (comments are moderated, so will not publish immediately).

And, on Twitter, see the replies to tweets by: this Research Unit | NIHR School for Social Care Research | Prof Jill Manthorpe. See also: Other Lives (by John Woolham in The Guardian, 21 April 2022).

6 thoughts on “Martin Stevens

  1. Martin was such a positive and welcoming person. We valued him as a colleague and will miss his enormous intellectual and academic support around the Hoarding research process.

    Personally, I will miss his warmth. As a non-academic in this highly intellectual world, Martin’s kindness and humour always helped me to feel a part of the process. I honestly struggle to believe that such a force of light has been dimmed.

    To his family, my family and the Charity send the most heartfelt condolences.

  2. One of the original FGC family of evaluators! This is such such sad news. When I think of Martin, whilst we all recognise the great contribution that he made professionally to improving the quality and prominence of social care research what I remember most is him. He was a truly lovely, kind, humble and generous soul who will be greatly missed.

  3. I was shocked and hugely saddened to hear of Martin’s death. His use of ethical research methods to establish the truths that would unlock a future for social care rooted in social justice made him a great contributor to a better future. We are much the poorer for no longer having him, but must be grateful for what he gave.

  4. Such sad news, it was an absolute pleasure to work with Martin. I’ll always remember his smile and laugh. RIP Martin, you will be missed. X

  5. Martin was such a pleasure to work with. He took the lead in navigating the IBSEN study protocol through Ethics Committee Approval. He was calm, confident and able to steer the study through notorious bureaucratic minefields. He consistently drew the respect of senior social care professionals – another key skill for applied social care researchers. What a sad time.

  6. I took over from Martin has the manager of the Individual Budgets Evaluation in 2006. I was nervous about joining academia, and worried what people would be like. All those anxieties slipped away after an hour in his company, as he showed me the ropes, with his gentle, kind and light-hearted nature. Unassuming, unshowy, and unselfish – he will be hugely missed.

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