Leading social care academic killed in freak accident

Professor Sally Baldwin – 1940 to 2003

Professor Sally Baldwin, former director of the Social Policy
Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of York, has died in an
accident in Rome, aged 63. 

She was killed after a travelator she was standing on at a
railway station in Rome collapsed trapping her in the

She spent 30 years at the SPRU, half of them as director, a post
she held from October 1987 to January 2002.  Under her leadership,
the unit doubled in size and developed a national and international
reputation for its research on social security, disability and
carers. Her pioneering book, ‘The Cost of Caring: Families with a
Disabled Child’ (1985), helped to get the costs of childhood
disability recognised in the benefit system.

Her research covered such diverse topics as the delivery of
services and benefits to disabled people and their family carers;
resource allocation, outcomes and the cash and care mix in social
care; gender issues in social and health care; and the utilisation
of research findings by policy makers and professionals.

Long before it was fashionable to talk about ‘joined-up’ policy
and practice, Professor Baldwin argued that it was important to
recognise that people’s lives do not divide up into the neat
segments of professional and organisational boundaries. But perhaps
the defining focus of her research was on identifying the needs,
views and preferences of the beneficiaries and recipients of
service provision.

Sally Baldwin was a member of the NHS research and
development commissioning panel for research awards in primary
care. She was also a trustee of the Family Fund, and a
non-executive director of York NHS Trust. In 1999. She was elected
as a founding academician of the Academy of Learned Societies of
the Social Sciences.

Peter Kemp
Director, Social Policy Research Unit
University of York

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