UCL Department of Security and Crime Science


UCL academics to lead a ground-breaking new study into labour market non-compliance in the UK

15 June 2022

UCL Department of Security and Crime Science is delighted to share the news that the department has been commissioned to lead a major new research project into labour market non-compliance experienced by people in precarious work in the UK.

UCL Jill Dando Institute building

Congratulations to Dr Ella Cockbain, Dr Krisztián Pósch, and Professor Ben Bradford from UCL Security and Crime Science.

Also working on the project are Professor Virginia Mantouvalou from UCL Faculty of Laws, Dr Sam Scott from the University of Gloucestershire, and Jack Beadsworth, a PhD Candidate at UCL Faculty of Laws.

The project, titled ‘Assessment of the Scale and Nature of Labour Market Non-compliance in the UK’, was commissioned by the Director of Labour Market Enforcement. It is being funded to the value of £742,017 by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This innovative mixed-methods study will include a major representative survey of precarious workers delivered as an Associated Study of the Understanding Society Survey, in-depth interviews and focus groups with workers and employers.  The research is expected to last two and a half years with the project concluding in December 2024.

Following the news, Project Co-lead Dr Ella Cockbain said: “A stronger evidence-base on labour market non-compliance is desperately needed to support effective responses. We are really excited about this research project and looking forward to working with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the work is as rigorous, nuanced, and relevant as possible. Among those who we will be consulting on the design and delivery of the project are people in precarious work themselves, with the support of Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX).”

Project Co-lead Dr Krisztián Pósch commented: “This is an amazing opportunity to combine cutting edge methods with real-world impact. We are immensely grateful to the Understanding Society Team for allowing us to use their main sample and conduct our research as an Associated Study.”

Professor Kate Bowers, Head of Department, added: “It is really exciting that this project is going ahead. It will generate much needed evidence on issues which are little understood, but directly affect the quality of life of so many people.”

The first of four reports from this project is expected to be published April 2023. Further details about the project and future updates regarding the findings can be found by clicking below.

Go to project webpage