Professor McLean’s research interests include UK public policy; devolution, including related issues in taxation and public expenditure such as the Barnett Formula; electoral systems; constitutional reform; the roles of church and state; the history of the Union of the United Kingdom since 1707; and disasters and government responses to them, especially the Aberfan disaster of 1966.
He has advised the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. He was a consultant to the Jenkins Commission on voting systems for the House of Commons, and to various local authorities on the Boundary Commission for England's review of parliamentary boundaries.
- The Scottish referendum
- Scottish independence
- Devolution in Scotland and Wales
- Electoral systems
- Pros and cons of proportional representation
- Reform of the House of Lords
- Relations between central and local government in the UK
- Aberfan and subsequent disasters - implications for public policy, regulation, the legal system
- The Barnett Formula, the distribution of public expenditure around the regions of the UK
- Regional public spending
- The quality of public expenditure data
Professor McLean has extensive experience of working with the media across print and broadcast, including outlets such as the BBC television and radio, and Al-Jazeera. He appears frequently on BBC Radio Oxford, and was part of the station's team providing rolling coverage of the UK General Election on the night of 7 May 2015.