‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view
– until you climb inside his skin and walk around in it.’ Atticus Finch
Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird
We are an independent and not for profit, research agency, specialising in public health and tackling social inequality. We bring expertise in social research, policy analysis and social marketing. We aim to support and champion the delivery of social impact and to help ordinary people have greater control over the decisions that affect them.
We work exclusively with public and third sector organisations – as well as service users and communities – to ensure that services are designed and implemented efficiently, effectively and in the public interest.
Focus on equality and diversity
Our expertise in inclusion, diversity and equality is unparalleled. We design the most effective and inclusive approaches possible for our clients. Our work in this area spans most aspects of social or public policy: health, welfare, media, employment, crime and policing, among others.
We design both survey and qualitative samples to ensure the voices of those who are ‘hard to research’ are heard.
We conduct highly effective consultation forums – in the ‘real world’ and online – to empower people to participate in decision-making for the public good. These consultation forums deliver value for money and make public organisations more responsive, innovative, effective and accountable.
We co-create consultations that involve topic specialists, professionals, people with personal experience of a given subject and members of the general.
We design and deliver engagement events involving the public and professionals. We work closely with clients to tailor events to ensure consultations are both productive and enjoyable. We regularly receive praise from participants and clients for the level of detail in planning, which leads to events where people feel they have been nourished by the process.
We use a range of methods and techniques to engage with audiences. We have pioneered the use of techniques such as Journey Mapping, Citizens Juries, Market Stalls, Question Time, Hypotheticals, Design-an-Advertising Campaign and many more approaches, to ensure that our deliberative dialogue approaches are both fun and engaging. We engage with people as citizens, customers, patients, service users and stakeholders.
Our work opens up insights into their attitudes, experiences and expectations, and highlights the drivers and values that inform these. We then use these as a basis for useful, evidence-based recommendations to contribute to local and national policy debates and influence the shape and delivery of service
We are experts in the evaluation of complex social interventions.
We specialise in evaluation research. With reduced funding, there is an ever greater need to deliver better and more cost-effective services. Yet less than 1% of public expenditure is spent on interventions for which there is a clear evidence base. Comprehensive evaluations are vital in order to learn lessons and embed them in planning.
We combine outstanding research skills, sensitivity and policy awareness to ensure that stakeholders remain engaged. Our evaluations are both formative and summative, and focus on processes as well as outcomes. We develop an explicit ‘theory of change’ which sets out the expected impacts and outcomes of a programme, and how these will be achieved.
Experimentation in public policy
We champion the commitment to experimentation in public policy. A key function of evaluation research should be to test a new intervention to determine whether it is more effective than existing practice. We have pioneered the use of experimental research designs to evaluate public health mass media campaigns, and targeted interventions in prisons, schools, primary care services and a host of other community settings.