Dr Mike Sheaff

Dr Mike Sheaff

Associate Lecturer

School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



Former programme manager for BSc (Hons) Sociology


PhD Industrial and Business Studies, University of Warwick, 1988-1992

MA Industrial Relations (with distinction), University of Warwick, 1985-1986

PGCE, College of St Mark and St John, Plymouth, 1977-1978

BA (Hons) Psychology, Plymouth Polytechnic, 1974-1977.

Roles on external bodies

Lay Chair for NHS England Public Health appointments

Non-Executive Director and Vice Chair of Plymouth Primary Care Trust, 2001-2011. (Chair of Clinical Governance Committee until March 2008, and subsequently Chair of Commissioning Governance Committee).

Elected member of Plymouth City Council, 1991-2000 (and Chair of Social Services Committee, 1997-2000).

Co-Chair of Plymouth Health Action Zone 1998-2000

Inaugural Chair of Plymouth Community Partnership, 1995-1996.

Trustee of Plymouth Citizens' Advice Bureau, 1994-1998.

Member of Chief Medical Officer's project on strengthening the public health function, 1997-98.

Member of National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education/University and Colleges Union National Executive Committee, 2004-2007.

Member of Sociology Reference Group for C-SAP (Higher Education Authority Subject Centre for Sociology Anthropology and Politics), 2006-2010.



Teaching interests

Previous responsibility for a wide range of teaching, including module leadership roles, on the following programmes:

BSc (Hons) Sociology
BSc (Hons) Health & Social Care Studies
BSc (Hons) Nursing and BSc (Hons) programmes for Allied Health Professions
MSc Social Research
MSc Health and Wellbeing

Staff serving as external examiners

External examiner at University of Wales St. David, 2010-2013
External examiner for the Social and Health Policy Field Examination Board, Birmingham City University, 2005-2009



Research interests

Work and organisation in health care services and Health inequalities and access to health care services.

Diagnosis and support for people with dementia and their carers.

Use of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in social research.




Sheaff, M. (forthcoming) 'Constructing accounts of organisational failure: Policy, power and concealment' Critical Social Policy. Available on Online First: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0261018316681252?ai=1gvoi&mi=3ricys&af=R

Genter, C., Roberts, A., Richardson, J. & Sheaff, M. (2015) The contribution of allotment gardening to health and wellbeing: A systematic review of the literature. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 78 (10): 593-605.

Sheaff, M. (2002) ‘Accountabilities, Centralisation and Partnerships’ MCC Building Knowledge for Integrated Care, 10(4), October 2002, pp.3-12.

Sheaff, M. (1988) NHS ancillary services and competitive tendering. Industrial Relations Journal. 19 (2): 93-105.


Sheaff, M. (2005) Sociology and Health Care: An Introduction for Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professions. Open University Press.
(Reviewed in Sociological Research Online: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/12/6/reviews/van_teijlingen.html)

Sheaff, M. (2004) 'Health inequalities and research methods' in David, M. & Sutton, C. Social Research: The Basics. Sage Publications.

Sheaff, M. (1997) 'Urban Partnerships, Economic Regeneration and the Healthy City'. In Jewson, N. & MacGregor, S. (eds) Transforming Cities: contested governance and new spatial divisions. Routledge.

Book reviews

In Disability and Rehabilitation (2008) 30 (9): 729-730: Cwikel, J.G. Social Epidemiology: Strategies for Public Health Activism.

In Sociology of Health and Illness (2007) Book Reviews 29 (3): 477-479: Wilkinson, R.G. The Impact of Inequality - How to Make Sick Societies Healthier, and Budrys, G. Unequal Health: how inequality Contributes to Health or Illness.

In Sociology of Health and Illness (2004) Book Reviews 26 (1): 130-131: Mohan, J. Planning, Markets and Hospitals.

In Journal of Advanced Nursing (2004) 46 (2): 228: Davey, B., Gray, A. & Seale, C. (eds) Health and Disease: A Reader (3rd edition).

Conference Papers

Sheaff, M. (2017) Whisleblowing: Personal Troubles & Public Issues. British Sociological Association Annual Conference. University of Manchester, 4th April 2017.

Sheaff, M. (2015) Power, Knowledge & Freedom of Information. British Sociological Association Annual Conference. University of Glasgow, 15th April 2015.

Sheaff, M (2014) 'Documents as Data: 'Public' and 'Personal'. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 1999. Centre for Methodological Innovation, Institute of Health & Community, Plymouth University. 11th February 2014.

Sheaff, M (2013) "The letter you were seeking cannot be found. That is the end of the matter". Power, ethics and use of the Freedom of Information Act. Methodological Innovations Conference. University of Plymouth. 5th December 2013.

Sheaff, M (2012) Dementia, self and Others. British Sociological Association Auto/Biography Summer Conference. University of Reading. 14th July 2012

Sheaff, M. (2012) Self, dementia and Identity. Ageing and Society Conference, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Canada (virtual presentation)

Sheaff, M. (2011) Dementia, self and social identity. British Society of Gerontology 40th Conference. University of Plymouth. 5th-7th July 2011.

Sheaff, M. & Shepherd, A. (2011) Music and dementia: an interdisciplinary approach. Methods conference, University of Plymouth. May 2011.

Sheaff, M. & Parsons, J. (2009) Is Sociology Relevant for professional occupations? C-SAP (Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics) Conference, Birmingham, November 2009.

Sheaff, M. (2007) 'Public Sociology and Health Professions'. C-SAP (Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics) Conference, Cardiff, November 2007.

Sheaff, M. (2004) 'Stimulating a Sociological Imagination Among Healthcare Professionals'. British Sociological Association Medical Sociology Conference, York, September 2004.

Sheaff, M (2003) 'Inequalities in health services and the "inverse care law"'. World Health Organisation International Healthy Cities Conference, Belfast.



Reports & invited lectures

Sheaff, M., McFarlane, H., Sherriff, I. & Giarchi, G. (2010) Early diagnosis of dementia in Plymouth. University of Plymouth.

Sheaff, M. (2002) Sociology Resources for Teaching Health Professionals. University of Plymouth.

Sheaff, M. (2001) 'Health and social care partnerships in learning disability services: A review of staff attitudes towards organisational integration and professional collaboration in three areas of the UK' Report of a study carried out on behalf of the South West Association of Learning Disabilities.

Other academic activities

Peer-reviewed articles for the following journals:


Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine

Additional information

Newspaper articles:

Sheaff, M (2010) The health service must cling to Bevan's egalitarian vision. The Guardian, 10 July 2010
Sheaff, M (2014) The nature of power. Western Morning News on Sunday. 20 July 2014.