Policy Papers

History & Policy papers are written by expert historians, based on peer-reviewed research. They offer historical insights into current policy issues ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq, climate change and internet surveillance to family dynamics, alcohol consumption and health reforms. For historians interested in submitting a paper, please see the editorial guidelines.

Currently, 195 papers are freely searchable by theme, author or keyword, with new papers published regularly. Where possible, we publish papers to coincide with relevant policy developments. If you are a policy maker, civil society practitioner or journalist and would like to contact one of our historians, please contact historyandpolicy@kcl.ac.uk.

You can download H&P policy papers directly from the Apple iBooks store to your iPhone, iPad or Mac. We also have an Amazon Kindle version to download to your PC for transfer to your Kindle via USB cable. Please consult your Kindle manual for further details.


Why red tape saves lives: the fire service, tombstone legislation and deregulating safety in Britain

Shane Ewen shows how great improvements in public fire safety are at risk in an age where successive governments are on a mission to cut "red tape" - the result is Grenfell. Will we see a return to the reactive "tombstone legislation" of the 1950s to 1970s?

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Creating ‘cruel’ welfare systems: a historical perspective

Katie Barclay reviews the operation of the nineteenth century workhouse and the twentieth century asylum to show that once emotional and financial investment in welfare systems fails, abuse and cruelty become systemically enabled. 

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The Citizen’s Charter: towards consumer service in central government

Lorenzo Castellani traces the roots of the idea of the citizen as consumer of public services - an idea embraced by successive governments of different political stripes since John Major's Citizen's Charter in the early 1990s.

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University fees in historical perspective

Prof. Robert Anderson looks at the history of university tuition fees and asks whether the restoration of free higher education in England is politically possible, or indeed, desireable. 

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‘Fraudulent’ disability in historical perspective

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The care of older people in Japan: myths and realities of family ‘care’

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Coalition policy towards the NHS: past contexts and current trajectories

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England’s early ‘Big Society’: parish welfare under old Poor Law

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The Victorian information age: nineteenth century answers to today’s information policy questions?

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How to talk about redistribution: a historical perspective

Ben Jackson's paper shows how politicians can talk about economic redistribution without scaring voters, by drawing on the speeches of progressive leaders of the past.

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About Us


H&P is an expanding Partnership based at King's College London and the University of Cambridge, and additionally supported by the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, the Open University, and the University of Sheffield.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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