Mrs Jennie Fleming

Job: Reader in Participatory Research and Social Action

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116 257 7873




Personal profile

Jennie Fleming is a Reader in Participatory Research and Social Action, and the Director of the Centre for Social Action (CSA) in the school of Applied Social Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.  She is a  co-editor of Groupwork Journal and on the editorial boards of Social Work and Social Sciences Review.

Jennie previously worked as a youth and community worker and social worker. Her research interests cover participatory research, especially the involvement of young people, community members and service users in research in a range of social, community and organisational contexts. She has extensive experience working with public and voluntary sector institutions, multi-agency partnerships, NGOs, government departments and agencies in a wide range of participatory evaluation, research and change projects.

Jennie has a particular interest in developing approaches lead to learning, dialogue, action and change. To find out more about the impact of our research,she is PI on the JISC funded DIEGO (Disseminating Impact from Engagement with User Groups and Organisations) – linking with Sarah Morton, an Impact Analyst at the University of Edinburgh, to develop a case study looking at the analysis of the impact of participatory research in the area of Social Action.

The main focus of Jennie's work are:

Young people’s participation
The CSA employs young people as Associate Research Assistants who work in partnership with us on our research and evaluation contracts.Together we have evaluated Participation Works, local Connexions courses, and young people’s participation in museums, social work training and local authority structures, U R Boss project at the Howard League.

Person centred support
Work in this area includes Shaping our Age, a three-year, Big Lottery funded project and unique partnership between WRVS, the Centre for Citizen Participation at Brunel University and the Centre for Social Action at De Montfort University.The project aims to explore how older people define their well-being, and is developing participatory ways in which older people can help each other to achieve their well-being..

The Joseph Rowntree funded Standards We Expect Project which involved disabled people, service users and academics alongside practitioners developing a participatory and action-research approach to investigating how adult social care could provide person centred support.

Jennie is interested in supervising postgraduate research into any of the areas described above and currently supervises students on such topics as: Lithuanian Emigration to the UK, how adults with Aspergers Syndrome choose to have a voice in the services that they receive; ‘Understanding the impact of patient involvement in the research process’ and ‘Exploration and piloting of collaborative knowledge production, dissemination and utilisation in partnership with War Child Uganda’

Publications and outputs 

Click here to view a full listing of Jennie Fleming's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Participatory and emancipatory research methodologies
  • Young people’s issues – particularly participation and their human rights
  • Disability issues – again particularly participation and human rights
  • Older people
  • Communities

Areas of teaching

  • Research methods
  • Service user involvement
  • Children and young people’s human rights,
  • Person centred support.


  • BA Social Administration (1979)
  • CQSW and MA in Social Work (1988).
  • Recognised as a qualified Youth and Community Worker by CCETYCW

Membership of professional associations and societies

Registered as a social worker with the General Social Care Council Registration number: 1013282.

Conference attendance

European Social Work Research Conference, Basel, Switzerland (March 2012) ‘International Research and Exchange of Social Work Professionals between England & South Africa - one example’ with Dr Hellmuth Weich, Jane McLenachan, Prof Roger Smith, Dr Brian Stout.

European Social work Research Conference (Oxford March 2011), ‘Lessons learnt from ‘The Standards We Expect’ project – the contribution of service users and carers to interdisciplinary social work and social care research’.

National Children and Adult Services conference (London October 2011) ‘Finding solutions together – service users, carers and practitioners’ with Peter Beresford, Catherine Bewley, Suzy Croft and Ellen Goodey.

Naidex conference (London October 2011) ‘Person Centred Support’ with Prof Peter Beresford.

Involve conference, Nottingham UK (November 2010) “Wanted young researchers: employing young people as researchers” with Iman Delanius and Harrison Carter.

NCVO conference, (September 2009) Researching the Voluntary Sector held at Warwick University ‘Volunteering and faith communities in England’ with Thilo Boeck.

Involve conference, Nottingham UK (November 2008) ‘The Standards We Expect – a collaborative approach’ (presented with Prof Peter Beresford and prepared with Fran Bradfield and Suzy Croft).

Disability Studies Conference, Lancaster UK (Sept 2008) “The Standards We Expect” (with Prof Peter Beresford).

International Association of Schools of Social Work conference in Durban S Africa (July 2008), “The Standards We Expect” and also with Hellmüth Weich (DMU) and Zethu Mkhize (University of Zululand, RSA) “Can ante narrative have a place in action research?”.

Key research outputs

Fleming J, Glynn M, Griffin R, Beresford P, Bewley C, Branfield F, Croft S, Postle K (2011) Person Centred Support: Choices for End of Life Care, Shaping our lives in association with Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Postle K, Croft S, Fleming J, Beresford P, Bewley C, Branfield F , Glynn M (2011) Working Towards Person-centred Support: A local case study.  Shaping our lives in association with Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Croft S, Bewley C, Beresford P, Branfield F, Fleming J, Glynn M, Postle K (2011) Person-Centred Support: A guide to person centred working for practitionersShaping our lives in association with Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Bewley C, Branfield F, Glynn M, Beresford P, Croft S, Fleming J, Postle K ( 2011)Person-Centred Support: A service users’ guide.Shaping our lives in association with JRF

Glynn M, Beresford P, Bewley C, Branfield F, Croft  S, Fleming J, Postle K (2011) Making Change: A guide to running successful and accessible workshops and training.  Shaping our lives in association with Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Smith R and Fleming J (2011) Welfare + Rights: An interim evaluation report into the Howard League’s legal service for children and young people

Fleming Jennie, Ward Dave, Yates Scott (2010) How to – use a consortium working approach London: National Children’s Bureau

Consultancy work

Support to the Delivery of Effective and Sustainable Social Assistance Services in Moldova - Contracted by OPM to work as consultant on the DfID/SIDA funded project to offer advice, consultancy and training on the role, training and support needs of newly appointed community social assistants (social workers).

Current research students

Kevin Power, ‘To explore how ethical problems arising in clinical practice in a hospital based paediatric intensive care unit are resolved’. – 1st supervisor

Ausra Bremner, ‘Impact of Emigration to the UK on Lithuanian Immigrant Family Relationships’.

Jackie Martin, ‘Using the concept of space to analyse how adults with Aspergers Syndrome choose to have a voice in the services that they receive.’

Raksha Pandya, ‘Understanding the impact of patient involvement in the research process’ 1st supervisor.

Addy Williams, ‘Participative Action Research with children in Uganda’.

Externally funded research grants information

DIEGO (Disseminating Impact from Engagement with User Groups and Organisations) – PI on this project linking with Information Management Expertise from De Montfort University with an impact analyst at the University of Edinburgh to develop a case study looking at the analysis of the impact of participatory research in the area of Social Action (2012 JISC £28K).

Howard League – U R Boss Evaluation of the U R Boss legal service for young people. (2010 -2014 £110 000).

WRVS – Shaping Our Age – BIG Lottery funded research project, to investigate the best ways to encourage older people to help each other to improve their health and well-being (total grant held by WRVS £497 000 2010-2013).

Nottingham City Council – evaluation of SupportNet a programme encouraging community involvement in the Putting People First agenda in 2 communities in Nottingham (£5 000, 2009/10).

Professional esteem indicators

Co-editor of Groupwork Journal (2011 ongoing).

Member of editorial board of ’Social Work and Social Sciences Review’ (2011 ongoing).

Regularly review articles for Qualitative Social Work, Children and Society, Diversity in Health and Care and Evaluation and Program Planning.

Case studies

Working on creating a case-study on the impact of participatory research for 2013 REF.

The wide circulation of the How to guide (see above) an output from another research contract.

Work with young peer researchers chosen as one of 4 examples of good practice in partnership research by Involve (DoH funded body to support PPI in health and social care research) published in ‘Turning the pyramid upside down: examples of public involvement in social care research’.

Also invited by Involve to be part of national group developing training materials for participative research.

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