After graduating in law, Eric Caines spent the major part of his career as a senior civil servant in a number of Whitehall Departments, where he held a succession of high-level managerial posts. He was a Director of both the NHS and the UK Prison Service and a member of a Government Inquiry into Policing. He also worked on secondment from Whitehall at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. On leaving government service, he became Professor of Health Service Management in Nottingham University, UK. In all these posts, he spoke and wrote extensively on public sector management, and he is an acknowledged expert on industrial relations. He holds an Oxford University doctorate in Modern History. Combining his strong sense of how politics works with more formal historical study, in 2017 he published a book entitled Heath and Thatcher in Opposition.