Press release

NatCen appoints four new Trustees

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) has strengthened its Board with the appointment of four new Trustees.
  • Publishing date:
    20 July 2022

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) has strengthened its Board with the appointment of four new Trustees who will support the organisation in the delivery of its strategic plans and development.

Helen Barnard (Pro Bono Economics/Joseph Rowntree Foundation), Oliver Foster (Pagefield Communications), Bruce Gordon (Thames Valley Capital), and Saratha Rajeswaran (BVCA) will take up their roles on NatCen’s Board of Trustees later this month.

NatCen’s Board of Trustees is chaired by Sir Stuart Etherington who was appointed in 2021. The Chief Executive is Guy Goodwin who has been in post since 2016.

In their role as Trustee, these individuals will work collaboratively with the Board to support the strategic direction of NatCen, leading change as the organisation continues to grow.

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chair of NatCen’s Board of Trustees, says: “NatCen has a proud and long heritage of conducting social research, understanding the complexity of people’s lives and giving the public a powerful voice in shaping decisions and services that make a difference to everyone. I am delighted to welcome Helen, Oliver, Bruce and Saratha as new Trustees and look forward to their contribution in the delivery of our ambitious Towards 2025 strategy.”

Helen Barnard, Director of Research and Policy, Pro Bono Economics and Associate Director, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), says: "As a long-time admirer of NatCen’s outstanding research, I am honoured to have the opportunity to actively support its work and I look forward to working with the team to increase its reach and impact."

Oliver Foster, Chief Executive, Pagefield Communications, says: “Thanks to its decades of high quality, independent work, NatCen captures the pulse of the nation. In an age when facts can sometimes be ignored, it’s vital that NatCen’s research has far greater impact and I’m delighted to be joining the Board at this important time.”

Bruce Gordon, Chairman, Thames Valley Capital, says: “I’m thrilled to be invited to join NatCen’s Board of Trustees and to contributing towards the delivery of their strategy and ambitious plans for growth.”

Saratha Rajeswaran, Director of External Affairs, BVCA, says: "Now, more than ever, it is crucial that public policy is informed by the voice of society. No one else can do social research with the scale and depth of NatCen, and I am excited to help them bring their invaluable work to the fore to help inform debates and improve policy making."


For more information please contact:

Oliver Paynel, Communications Manager, National Centre for Social Research
email:, tel: 0207 549 9550, mob: 07734 960 071

Katie Crabb, Head of Marketing and Communications, National Centre for Social Research
email:, tel: 0207 549 8504

Notes to editors

1. The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), Britain’s largest independent social research organisation, aims to promote a better-informed society through high quality social research (
2. Helen Barnard is Director of Research and Policy at Pro Bono Economics and Associate Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). Previously she was Director of JRF, after leading JRF’s analysis and policy teams. She is a leading national expert on poverty, inequality and social policy. Her extensive body of research and policy work have covered poverty, destitution, labour markets, housing, social security and civil society. Earlier in her career Helen worked for Opinion Leader Research and BMRB Social Research.
3. Oliver Foster is a seasoned communications advisor, recognised in the PR Week Power Book and Mace Magazine’s Top 100 political consultants. He is an integrated campaign specialist with over 20 years’ experience working in government, trade associations, within charities and the wider private sector for companies including ITV plc and Pagefield Communications, a company he co-founded in 2010 and of which he remains Chief Executive. Using his Board-level experience, Oliver has advised charities including the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust and – as Liveryman of the Haberdasher’s Company – he plays an active role in the Company’s charitable endeavours. He is a member of a PR industry panel set up to establish a mental health charter for the PR industry; is regularly invited to comment on political and media developments; and he acts as a judge for several PR industry awards.
4. Bruce Gordon was a senior audit partner with Deloitte LLP until 2008 and was a member of the Board of Partners and Partner in charge of the Southern region.  Bruce’s clients included a number of FTSE 100 companies as well as some of Deloitte’s largest global clients. Prior to Deloitte, Bruce was a partner with Arthur Andersen, where he managed the UK Regional Practice. He now owns Thames Valley Capital Limited, an FCA approved advisor to three Private Equity Funds. He is also Chairman and joint founder of Cornerstone Private Equity which has launched and manages four mid-market PE Fund of Funds. Bruce is also an experienced Charity Trustee with over 25 years’ experience. He is the Chairman, and a Founder, of the Honorary Treasurers’ Forum, a charity that promotes governance and education for Honorary Treasurers. He is also an External Examiner for The Bayes Business School’s Centre of Charity Effectiveness.
5. Saratha Rajeswaran is Director of External Affairs at the BVCA. Prior to the BVCA she worked in the UK Government as a Special Advisor to two consecutive Environment Secretaries; she was Executive Director for Government Affairs and Devolved Nations at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, Associate Director at Edelman, Deputy Head of the BME Research Unit at Policy Exchange, and Chief of Staff to the CEO and Strategy Adviser to the Chairman of Network Rail. Before that Sara spent four years at the Conservative Party, including as their Special Adviser on Transport when in opposition. She co-authored A Portrait of Modern Britain with Rishi Sunak and was researcher to Professor Alison Wolf for her book The XX Factor: How Working Women Are Creating A New Society.
6. NatCen’s Towards 2025 strategy can be found at