Policy areas

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TNS BMRB provides in-depth subject knowledge and experience across a wide range of public policy areas. We work closely with our clients to translate this knowledge into research that is of real value to policy makers and stakeholders. We regularly work with academic and think-tank partners to bring together the expert knowledge, methodological skill and research infrastructure needed for each project we undertake.


TNS BMRB’s specialist Education Policy Group has research expertise that spans the education system from early years to adult learning.

Our portfolio of work in the education field includes longitudinal studies to understand the trajectories of young people and outcomes from learning, evaluations of government policy programmes, population surveys to measure adult literacy and numeracy, and research among schools, training providers and further and higher education institutions. Current and recent research includes:

  • Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (DfE)
  • Evaluation of the Pupil Premium (DfE)
  • Strategies to Raise the Aspirations of High-Achieving Disadvantaged Pupils to Pursue Higher Education (DfE)
  • Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (DfE)
  • National Survey of Adult Basic Skills Needs in Wales (Welsh Government)
  • The Behavioural Impact of Changes in the Teachers' Pension Scheme (DfE)

Research Experts: Mark Peters, Desiree Lopez | Contact

Children, young people and families

Our education policy expertise is complemented by our wider body of experience of undertaking research to inform policies that support children, young people and families.

We have a sound understanding of both the policy landscape in this area and the methodological considerations when doing research with children and young people. Policy areas we have researched include early learning and childcare, child poverty, disadvantage and social mobility, relationship support and parenting, health and wellbeing, and child safety and protection. Our work spans major longitudinal and cross-sectional surveys, mixed-method evaluations of policy programmes and ethnographic studies of young people and their families. Current and recent research includes:

  • Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey (DfE)
  • Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (DfE)
  • National Survey of Childhood Safety and Victimisation (NSPCC)
  • Crime Survey for England and Wales 10-15 year olds survey (ONS/Home Office)
  • Evaluation of the CANparent Universal Parenting Classes trial (DfE)
  • Customer Insight Research to inform the Inspiring Communities programme (DCLG)

Research Experts: Mark Peters, Naomi Day | Contact

Work and employment

TNS BMRB has a long and successful history of undertaking research in the areas of labour market evaluation and workplace relations.

We have particular expertise in engaging and researching the ‘harder to reach’ and most ‘disadvantaged’ customer groups in relation to these areas. Current and recent project experience includes:

  • Evaluation of the Jobcentre Plus Offer (DWP)
  • Evaluation of the Youth Contract (DWP)
  • Evaluation of Mandatory Work Activity (DWP)
  • Evaluation of the Day One Support for Young People trailblazer (DWP)
  • DWP Customer Survey (DWP)
  • Survey of Employment Tribunal Applications (BIS, MoJ and Acas)

Research Experts: Dr. Andrew Thomas, Mark Peters | Contact

Criminal and civil justice

TNS BMRB undertakes a diverse range of research in the field of criminal and civil justice, including major national surveys to measure the extent of crime in Britain, studies to inform and evaluate civil justice policy, and research to evaluate the impact of behaviour change campaigns.

Much of the research we undertake in this area involves challenging methodologies, sensitive topic areas and consultation with offenders as well as victims and their families. Current and recent research includes:

  • Crime Survey for England and Wales (ONS) and Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (Scottish Government)  
  • Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (Scottish Government)
  • Feasibility of surveying users of the family and civil courts (MoJ)
  • Research into the effectiveness of Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MoJ)
  • Research to develop good practice guidance into commissioning, administering and producing psychiatric reports for sentencing (HMCS)
  • Court experience of adults with mental health conditions, learning disabilities and limited mental capacity (MoJ)
  • Survey of Employment Tribunal Applications (BIS, MoJ and Acas)

Research Experts: Keith Bolling, Rosie McLeod | Contact

Communities and citizenship

​Issues surrounding communities and citizenship have never been more central to policy discourse. TNS BMRB has considerable experience of research in this area, covering issues such as social cohesion, community activism, volunteering, local influencing and migration.

Our work ranges from conducting large scale surveys of people from different social, ethnic and religious backgrounds to evaluating key citizenship and migration policies, and using ethnographic observation to understand local communities. Current and recent research includes:

  • Community Life Survey  (Cabinet Office)
  • Citizenship Education Longitudinal Survey (Institute of Education)
  • 2010 British Election Study Ethnic Minority Survey (University of Oxford)
  • Customer Insight Research to inform the Inspiring Communities programme (DCLG)
  • Experiences of highly skilled migrants applying to work in the UK under Tier 1 of the Points-based System (Home Office)

Research Experts: Keith Bolling | Contact

Third Sector and social investment

TNS BMRB works with a number of third sector organisations in measuring awareness and attitudes, branding and communications, media relations, exploring customer needs, and developing strategies to increase engagement. We also have experience of conducting SROI evaluations and providing strategic consultancy for third sector clients on effective monitoring and evaluation.

Much of our work is this area deals with sensitive issues, and our interviewers are highly trained to handle any delicate subjects with appropriate care.  Our Third Sector and social investment clients include Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Charities Aid Foundation, NSPCC, MacMillan Cancer Support, Mind, Leonard Cheshire Disability and World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

Research Experts: Rosie McLeod | Contact

Consumer protection

TNS BMRB works with a number of the main regulatory bodies and consumer organisations in the UK, undertaking research to help them develop policy to further the interests of citizens and consumers across a wide range of services.

We put the consumer and their needs, interests and rights at the heart of policymaking and service design, helping our clients make difficult choices in this dynamic and contested environment. Our high impact work includes: 

  • Consumer Detriment Survey (BIS/Consumer Futures)
  • An investigation of the Payday Lending Market (Competition Commission) 
  • Review of the home improvements and repairs market (Office for Fair Trading)
  • Citizens’ Forums (Food Standards Agency)
  • Customer needs from a sustainable universal postal service (Ofcom)

Research Experts: Karen Bunt, Ben Toombs | Contact

Personal finance

Issues surrounding personal finance and financial capability are key determinants of the resilience of society. TNS BMRB is experienced in conducting research in this area among a broad spectrum of stakeholder groups including pensioners, employers, tax payers, financial advisors, new parents and the financially excluded.

Our policy expertise ranges from pensions provision to the funding of long-term care. Our current and recent project experience in this area includes:

  • A substantial body of work to help HMRC reform its personal taxation customer services
  • A range of qualitative and quantitative research for DWP on employer and consumer behaviour and attitudes in relation to pension reform and retirement planning 
  • An investigation of the Payday Lending Market (Competition Commission)
  • Segmentation of the retail consumer population (Financial Conduct Authority)

Research Experts: Ben Toombs, Catherine Grant, Dr. Andrew Thomas | Contact


TNS BMRB’s expertise in the field of health encompasses public health, public attitudes, behaviour change, health campaign evaluation and development, strategy and planning, policy evaluation and patient group studies.

We have a creative and innovative team with expertise in a range of quantitative, qualitative and deliberative research methods, enabling us to offer our clients a wide range of tailored approaches to small and large scale research. Our project experience in this area includes:

  • Evaluation of the Change4Life, Tobacco control and Be Clear On Cancer behaviour change programmes (PHE)
  • Long-term tracking of attitudes to mental Illness among adults in England (DH)
  • Research for NHS Trusts among health experts and the local community on quality of care and future service provision 
  • Surveys of Clinical Commissioning Groups and Support Services to inform business planning and assurance processes (Clinical Commissioning Coalition)
  • Evaluation of the impact of the Responsible Pharmacist Regulations (Royal Pharmaceutical Society)
  • Delivery of the public engagement on the Darzi Review of the NHS

Research Experts: Desiree Lopez, Ben Toombs | Contact

Later life and end of life care

Later life and end of life care presents a substantial challenge across the country. TNS BMRB has significant expertise conducting research with older people, individuals with chronic conditions including those who have entered the terminal phase, carers, and the recently bereaved.

This experience spans a range of policy areas and settings, and includes sensitive topics such as organ donation, stroke, dementia, lung cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, later life planning, care funding, social isolation and ageing in rural communities.

We have a highly skilled and sensitive team who can offer tailored and responsive approaches to research with vulnerable populations to ensure positive participant experience and quality research outcomes. Our experience in this area includes:

  • public engagement research for the ground-breaking Dilnot Commission
  • An assessment of service needs of older rural residents for DEFRA
  • Research on the impact of early diagnosis on Alzheimer’s patients for the Social Marketing Foundation
  • A range of work for clients including CQC, the DH, Macmillan and Breakthrough Breast Cancer

Research Experts: Ben Toombs | Contact

Sports and physical activity

TNS BMRB research plays a major role in informing and supporting government policy to increase engagement with sport.

Our research focuses on measuring participation in sport; understanding barriers and motivations to participation; and providing research to inform the implementation of the government’s 2012 Legacy Action Plan. We also have experience of evaluating behaviour change programmes around sport, healthy lifestyles and community engagement. 

TNS BMRB is the government’s research partner on two major surveys measuring participation in sport: the Active People Survey for Sport England and the Taking Part Survey for DCMS.

Research Experts: Gillian Prior, Daniel Clay | Contact

Food safety and nutrition

TNS BMRB has undertaken extensive research on food safety and nutrition, with studies on policy development, evaluation, stakeholder engagement and public attitudes.

Examples of our current and recent work include:

  • The Citizens Forums project for the Food Standards Agency, a multi-year deliberative study exploring public views about issues ranging from the FSA strategic plan, rights and responsibilities with regard to diet and health, and interventions to promote food safety
  • The Food and You survey on public attitudes, reported knowledge and behaviour relating to food safety and production (FSA)
  • Research into national school food standards, measuring the provision and consumption of meals in primary and secondary schools, and early years settings (Children’s Food Trust)
  • The UK’s largest study to explore public comprehension and use of food labelling schemes in the UK
  • Stakeholder consultation in relation to the FSA’s strategic plan 2010-2015 (FSA)

Research Experts: Gillian Prior, Caitlin Connors | Contact

Environment, climate change and transport

TNS BMRB enables our clients to gain a deeper understanding of consumer attitudes and behaviours in relation to the environment, climate change and transport.

Our work in this area uses methods such as segmentation, customer journey mapping and communications evaluation to inform behaviour change and social marketing strategy. Current and recent research includes:

  • Qualitative research into use of and attitudes towards the Strategic Road Network (DfT)
  • Quantitative tracker of public attitudes towards energy usage and supply (DECC)
  • Research among early adopters of electric vehicles to assess the impact of  the Plug-in Car Grant and Plugged-in Places schemes (DfT)
  • Research with the Carbon Trust to explore opportunities for innovative SMEs in clean technology industries in India and Kenya (World Bank)
  • Research on how Display Energy Certificates have been used in energy management and decision-making (DECC)
  • Climate Change and Transport Choices Segmentation Model - A framework for reducing CO2 emissions from personal travel (DfT)

Research Experts: Karen Bunt, Dr. Andrew Thomas | Contact

Science and technology

TNS BMRB has a wealth of experience in understanding public attitudes towards science and technology, as well as engaging scientists in dialogue with the public on the wider implications of their work. We are particularly focused on keeping organisations aware of the strategic and policy implications of research.

We have a proven track record of working with prestigious scientific organisations in areas including public engagement, communications, policy development, evaluation, and improving regulation. We are proud to have worked with Sciencewise and the research councils in delivering some of their major public dialogue studies – including work on global food security and open data (RCUK), synthetic biology, stem cells and nanotechnology (BBSRC, EPSRC), and geo-engineering for climate change (Royal Society).

Research Experts: Daniel Clay, Caitlin Connors | Contact

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