Sarah Spencer CBE COMPAS Director of Strategy and Senior Fellow

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Publications list (PDF)

Sarah Spencer is Director of Strategy and a Senior Fellow at COMPAS and was Director of the Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity from its inception in 2014 until March 2019. She is Chair of the Board of Directors of IMISCOE, the European network of migration research institutes and scholars, and a member of Kellogg College, Oxford’s largest and most international graduate college.

Sarah’s research interests focus on irregular migrants, on which she has been PI in projects on national and city responses to irregular migrants in Europe, initiated under an Open Society Fellowship, and on families with No Recourse to Public Funds in the UK; on integration (on which she is collaborating with Katharine Charsley, University of Bristol), human rights and equality issues, and on the policy making process. Sarah was awarded her doctorate at Erasmus University Rotterdam, has an MPhil from University College London and took her first degree at the University of Nottingham.

At the Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity, Sarah is responsible for the City Initiative on Migrants with Irregular Status in Europe (C-MISE); and for Oxford’s contribution to the Urban Innovative Action project in Utrecht, the Refugee Launchpad. She was Director of its Autumn Academy symposium from 2016-2018 and responsible for its award-winning online tool to assess the eligibility of migrant families for local authority support.

Sarah was a co-founder of the network of equality and human rights organisations in Britain, the Equality and Diversity Forum (now ‘Equally Ours’) and its Chair for ten years (2002-2012); a Commissioner and Deputy Chair (2003-2005) of a statutory body, the Commission for Racial Equality; Programme Director at the Institute for Public Policy Research (1990-2003); and Director of the human rights NGO, Liberty (1984-1989). She has twice been seconded into the Cabinet Office strategy unit to contribute to studies on migration policy and has been a member of government Taskforces and advisory bodies. In 2007 she received a CBE for services to equality and human rights.


CitiesEuropean UnionIntegrationPoliciesPoliticsRightsWelfare


Action towards inclusion in Europe

Sarah Spencer and Nathan Grassi | December 2014 - June 2016

Attitudes to Migrants, Communication and Local Leadership (AMICALL)

Sarah Spencer, Michael Keith and COMPAS Communications | 2011 – 2012

City Initiative on Migrants with Irregular Status in Europe (C-MISE)

Sarah Spencer, Nicola Delvino, Marie Mallet-Garcia, Nathan Grassi and Rosaleen Cunningham | Phase I: 2017-19 | Phase II: 2020-21

Equality for whom?

Sarah Spencer | 2010 – 2011

Impact of Admission Criteria on the Integration of Migrants (IMPACIM)

Sarah Spencer | December 2011 – October 2012

Inclusive Cities

Sarah Spencer, Jacqui Broadhead and Denis Kierans | March 2017 - June 2023

Local Responses to Precarious Migrants: Frames, Strategies and Evolving Practices in Europe (LoReMi)

Sarah Spencer and Marie Mallet-Garcia | March 2021 to October 2022

Marriage Migration and Integration

Sarah Spencer | 2013 – 2015

Migration Services in Wales

Sarah Spencer, Carlos Vargas-Silva and COMPAS Communications | January 2015 – March 2017

Muslims and Community Cohesion in Britain

Sarah Spencer and COMPAS Communications | June 2005 – June 2007

Online Tool to Improve the Assessment of Destitute Families’ Eligibility for Support

Sarah Spencer and Jacqui Broadhead | May 2016 - May 2019

Utrecht Refugee Launchpad

Sarah Spencer and COMPAS Communications | November 2016 - October 2019