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Dr James Rees

Dr James Rees

Deputy Director of the Institute for Community Research and Development

  • Email address
  • Phone number 01902 323818
  • Location MH220, Mary Seacole Building, City Campus
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education Health & Wellbeing, Faculty of Social Sciences

James Rees is Reader and Deputy Director of ICRD. He joined the University in Summer 2019; prior to that he was at the Open University and also worked at the Universities of Birmingham and Manchester in a range of disciplines including Geography, Politics and Social Policy. His work is notably inter-disciplinary and is concerned with the voluntary sector in its broadest sense, but also more specifically in its relationship with current transformations in public services in the UK. At the Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham, he led the public service delivery programme, research from which helped set the agenda for debates on the involvement of voluntary organisations in public services. His jointly-edited collection on The Third Sector delivering Public Services was published by Policy Press in July 2016.

Recent research has focused on the role of the third sector in service delivery, cross-sectoral partnership, commissioning, and organisational change and the role of citizens and service users, drawing on a range of theoretical traditions in the fields of governance and organisational studies. He has also been involved in a range of applied and practical research projects particularly in relation to data labs and the reforms to probation services under Transforming Rehabilitation; with partners such as New Philanthropy Capital, Clinks and NCVO. He has also been funded by ESRC, NIHR, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, and Erasmus+. He also has long-standing research interests in urban and regional governance, and has published more broadly on housing policy, urban regeneration and community and citizen engagement.


  • PhD, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
  • MA, UEA, United Kingdom
  • BA, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Journal Articles

Terry, V., Rees, J., & Jacklin-Jarvis, C. (2019). The difference leadership makes? Debating and conceptualising leadership in the UK voluntary sector, Voluntary Sector Review.

Newbigging, K., Mohan, J., Rees, J., Harlock, J., & Davis, A. (2017). Contribution of the voluntary sector to mental health crisis care in England: protocol for a multimethod study. Bmj Open, 7(11).

Durose, C., Needham, C., Mangan, C., & Rees, J. (2017). Generating 'good enough' evidence for co-production. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 13(1), 135-151.

Rees, J., Miller, R., & Buckingham, H. (2017). Commission incomplete: exploring the new model for purchasing public services from the third sector. Journal of Social Policy, 46(1), 175-194.

Taylor, R., Rees, J., & Damm, C. (2016). UK employment services: understanding provider strategies in a dynamic strategic action field. Policy and Politics, 44(2), 253-267.

Beebeejaun, Y., Durose, C., Rees, J., Richardson, J., & Richardson, L. (2015). Public harm or public value? Towards coproduction in research with communities. Environment and Planning C-Government and Policy, 33(3), 552-565.

Rees, J., & Rose, N. (2015). New 'new localism' or the emperor's new clothes: diverging local social policies and state-voluntary sector relations in an era of localism. Voluntary Sector Review, 6(1), 81-91.

Miller, R., & Rees, J. (2014). Mental health commissioning: master or subject of change?. Mental Health Review Journal, 19(3), 145-155.

Richardson, L., Purdam, K., Cotterill, S., Rees, J., Squires, G., & Askew, R. (2014). Responsible citizens and accountable service providers? Renegotiating the contract between citizen and state. Environment and Planning A-Economy and Space, 46(7), 1716-1731.

Rees, J., Whitworth, A., & Carter, E. (2014). Support for All in the UK Work Programme? Differential Payments, Same Old Problem. Social Policy & Administration, 48(2), 221-239.

Rees, J. (2014). Public sector commissioning and the third sector: Old wine in new bottles?. Public Policy and Administration, 29(1), 45-63.

Beebeejaun, Y., Durose, C., Rees, J., Richardson, J., & Richardson, L. (2014). Beyond text: exploring ethos and method in co-producing research with communities. Community Development Journal, 49(1), 37-53.


Books and Book Chapters

Sancino, A., Rees, J., & Schindele, I. (2018). Cross-Sector Collaboration for Public Value Co-Creation: A Critical Analysis. In Critical Perspectives on International Public Sector Management (pp. 59-73). Emerald Publishing Limited.

Rees, J. (2009). Urban housing market restructuring and the recasting of neighbourhood governance and community. In Changing local governance, changing citizens (pp. 53-69). Policy Press.