Before retirement, Caroline led Department of Health-funded applied social policy research programmes at the Universities of Manchester and York in the fields of gerontology, family care and adult social care. She was a founder member of the NIHR School for Social Care Research and of the EU-wide research and policy group Eurocarers. Caroline has contributed to numerous collaborative comparative research projects on ageing, long-term care and family care. She has acted as Specialist Advisor to a House of Commons DCLG Select Committee Inquiry into adult social care funding and to several European Commission Peer Review events on care-related policy issues.

For 12 years, Caroline had the privilege of serving as a Trustee of the UK Thalidomide Trust. She has also been a Trustee of Age UK Manchester and joint Chair of a small UK-based charity supporting education development in Eastern Cape, S Africa. Since 2019 she has chaired the East Manchester Community Association which is responsible for Rainbow Haven, a long-established charity supporting refugees and asylum-seeking families in a deprived area of East Manchester.