I graduated from the University of York in 1974 with a BA Social Sciences (Politics) degree and then studied for a BPhil in Sociology, my PhD was awarded by the University of Ulster. I worked at the Ulster Polytechnic and University of Ulster for 15 years, including a year-long secondment to the Northern Ireland Civil Service at Stormont, returning to York in 1991 to be Assistant Director of the Social Policy Research Unit where I had responsibility for the social security programme.
In 1995 I moved to the teaching section of the Department and became Professor of Social Policy and Head of Social Policy. My work was mostly in the field of comparative social security and family policy – though my heart was in the history of social policy.
In 2002 I moved to Northumbria University as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) and subsequently Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Consultancy).
Since 2006 I have worked on an independent basis that has included a year as interim Head of Social Science at the University of Aberdeen and Director of Higher Education at Askham Bryan College.
I now have my own company, JD-MG Consulting Ltd, and continue to be active in areas of social policy: I am Chair of the NHS North Yorkshire and York Community and Mental Health Services Board and am an Independent Member of the Agricultural Wages Board for England & Wales. I continue to advise the European Commission on various matters and I am Senior Expert to MISSOC (the EU’s Mutual Information System on Social Protection).
When not working I am a fly-fisherman (West of Ireland and North Yorkshire), listen to music and read rather eclectically.