Leadership announcements

Annual Report and Accounts 2014

Introduction by Professor Sir Robert Burgess
  • Authors:
    Guy Goodwin
    Professor Sir Robert Burgess
  • Publishing date:
    1 December 2014

The Trustees present this annual report with the audited financial statements for the year to 30 June 2014. At NatCen Social Research we are driven by the belief that social research has the power to make life better. Our research works for society by providing a rich understanding of people’s views, circumstances and behaviours to underpin social policy-making and help address the many challenges society faces.

2013/14 has been a mixed year. We have seen success in terms of the delivery of our research projects and our impact, but also significant challenges posed by a difficult market and the resulting financial performance. We have undertaken a major organisational change programme in response.

Our achievements this year are many: we have delivered a wide range of projects across the full social policy spectrum, continuing to share our findings with decision-makers, opinion-formers and practitioners. These included national statistics such as the Health Survey for England, which we are contracted to deliver until 2019, complex policy evaluations and work with extremely challenging groups such as sex offenders.

NatCen Social Research is committed to delivering public benefit and this year we have continued to play a key role in building social research capacity in the UK. We are committed to methodological innovation and tackling the many research challenges the research community faces. Through NatCen Learning we have shared our skills and expertise with other researchers, including launching a new NatCen Learning website to support extended development activities for participants.

We are sharing our extensive knowledge of people and society, and findings from our studies, more widely through events and making our data available to others for analysis via data archives. We have drawn regularly on data from our annual surveys of attitudes, British Social Attitudes and Scottish Social Attitudes, to influence the news agenda and contribute to topical policy debates throughout the year, most markedly around Scottish independence and racial prejudice.

This impact has been achieved despite a difficult financial year. Along with other research organisations we continued to experience the impact of a changing landscape for the social research market, reflected in fewer, smaller commissions that are attracting greater competition. Our financial results reflect this, and in response to the market we have pursued a programme of organisational change including restructuring and redundancies. We refer to various aspects of the change programme throughout this report. This programme has brought the business rapidly back into balance and, together with ongoing improvement and innovation initiatives, means the organisation is well-placed to deliver its financial and strategic priorities for the coming year.

Our role as Trustees is to provide stewardship of the organisation. We have overseen many changes within the organisation to modernise and streamline our business, and as a Board we are confident that NatCen Social Research remains in a strong position to continue to deliver the high quality and impactful research that society needs. I would like to thank my colleagues on the Board for their ongoing commitment to NatCen Social Research, and their continued willingness to lend NatCen Social Research their expertise, experience, challenge and insight. In addition, I would like to thank our colleagues in NatCen Social Research who continue to develop our research and disseminate our findings, thus contributing to the process of policy-making. My colleagues on the Board join with me in wishing them every continued success