Mark Wilberforce

Dr Mark Wilberforce
Senior Research Fellow
  • +44 (0)1904 321297
  • Social Policy Research Unit, Church Lane Building, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5ZF

Visit Mark Wilberforce's profile on the York Research Database to see publications, projects, collaborators, related work and more.

I am a social care and social work researcher with a background in economics, and a particular interest in the community support of older people with dementia and mental health needs. My work is around three key research interests:  

(1) How ideas behind person-centred care can be used to drive quality improvements in community support for older people;

(2) How different community services for older people with dementia and mental health needs are organised, including issues of multidisciplinary working, integration and the role of social workers;

(3) How the quality of care experiences can be robustly measured.

My career in health and social care research began as an economist in the Department of Health before later joining academia. I have experience in a variety of impact study designs including randomised trials, cohort studies, and some quasi-experimental methods; in addition to general cross-sectional research, qualitative studies as part of mixed-method designs, and a range of literature review methods. I have a strong interest in the design and testing of outcome and experience measures, including Rasch/IRT techniques.

I am Chair of the Departmental Ethics Committee for Social Policy and Social Work.


  • PhD (Social Work), University of Manchester
  • MSc (Economics and Social Policy), University of York
  • BA (Economics and Politics), University of York

Current / recently completed research

Development of a decision support tool for older people who pay for social care, and their familiesJune 2021 - May 2023

In this study we will create a decision support tool that aims to help older people make decisions about paying for social care.

Helping older people with mental health needs to engage with social care: Enhancing support worker skills through a prototype learning and development intervention (The HOPES 2 Study)1 March 2021 - 28 February 2022

This study will develop a learning package to enable specialist support workers to better engage older people with mental health needs in social care.

Reducing delayed transfers of care (DTOC) for older adults with frailty: a systems-thinking approach to health and social care processes August 2020 - January 2022

This study aims to explore the role of complex social care systems in delayed transfers of care.

The Curiosity PartnershipJune 2020 - May 2025

To develop and evaluate a regional capacity building network: facilitating greater understanding, use and production of research in adult social care.

Curious about CareJuly 2020 - January 2023

The project is developing a situational judgement test to assess the person-centredness of domiciliary care workers.

Exploring experiences of loneliness and improving social care supportApril 2020 - January 2023

This study is testing a service improvement approach from healthcare in which people using and providing a service co-design changes.

The preferences of older self-funders navigating community social care (the PRESENCE study)January 2020 - December 2021

Investigating the preferences and decisions of older self-funders of community social care as they navigate the system.

Helping older people to engage effectively with community social care (The HOPES study)September 2019 - February 2021

This study aims to understand how support workers help older adults with mental health needs to accept and receive social care.

Implementing the Person-Centred Community Care Inventory (PERCCI) as a measure for quality in social care servicesJanuary 2019 - August 2019

How can we translate a person-centredness score into something meaningful for understanding service quality?

Exploring the contribution of the social work role in CMHTs for working age adults and older people October 2016 - 30 April 2019

A study to explore the unique contribution of social workers to community mental health teams.

External roles

  • Member of the editorial board for the British Journal of Social Work;
  • Associate editor for BMC Geriatrics;
  • Member of NIHR RfPB’s advisory panel for the North West;
  • Data Monitoring and Ethics Committee (DMEC): NIHR HS&DR,15/144/51 (2017-2020)