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Current annual report

Robert Burgess 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.

 Over the past year, we have delivered a wide range of  projects across the full policy spectrum, primarily  commissioned directly by clients but also used by  other decision-makers and practitioners. A particularly  high-profile project was our research for the Cabinet  Office in autumn 2011 providing a rapid perspective  on what motivated young people to join the riots in English cities.

We are sharing our extensive knowledge of people and society more widely to increase the impact of our work. We are informing topical debates, undertaking further analysis to bring our work to new audiences, and making our data available to others for analysis via data archives. Our long-running British Social Attitudes survey - which we made freely available online for the first time in 2011 - has informed understanding of public confidence in the NHS, and attitudes to Scottish devolution on both sides of the border.

2011/12 has been a particularly successful year for NatCen as a not-for-profit business. The improvement programme has resulted in increased efficiency. We have deployed the increased surplus to make a substantial additional contribution to the pension scheme to offset the deficit. We are delighted that we achieved the social and market research quality standard, ISO 20252.

Everyone at NatCen was saddened by the death of NatCen's co-founder Sir Roger Jowell in December. His vision in establishing NatCen (Social and Community Planning and Research as it was then) in 1969 with Gerald Hoinville has provided a lasting legacy: a commitment to intellectual rigour and methodological innovation and building social research capacity in the UK, which we continue to build on through our methodological work and training in research skills.

I was delighted to join NatCen as Chair of Trustees in February as successor to Professor Dame Janet Finch who led the Board since 2007 and has been instrumental in its ongoing development. As Trustees we provide stewardship of the organisation and I would like to thank my colleagues on the Board for their welcome to me, and ongoing commitment to NatCen.

Professor Sir Robert Burgess

Chair of Trustees

December 2012

Read the 2011-12 Annual report