Research in Practice joins the National Children's Bureau family

Published: 01/02/2024

Author: Research in Practice

The National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and Research in Practice have announced an exciting collaboration that strengthens their position as sector leaders with significant expertise and experience in developing practice and policy within social care, safeguarding, youth justice, special educational needs and disability (SEND) and health.

From 1 February 2024, NCB becomes the new permanent home of Research in Practice, pooling capability and resource in systems-change methodology, research and evidence generation, and high-quality professional development to create a truly unique offer for our many partners and stakeholders. 

Research in Practice has nearly 30 years experience working with and for professionals in the social care, health, criminal justice and higher education sectors offering resources, learning opportunities and specialist expertise.

Research in Practice aims to support learning to enable people – children, young people, families, adults, carers and communities – to live good lives. 

In a new video, Research in Practice Director Dez Holmes talks to NCB Chief Executive Anna Feuchtwang about the collaboration. 


Previously hosted by Dartington Hall Trust, Research in Practice has been proudly supporting the sector since 1996. The organisation has grown year on year and now supports a Partner network of over 220 local authorities, national and voluntary organisations, as well as universities, across England. With Dartington refocusing its strategy, and Research in Practice tripling in size, the opportunity arose for a change that all parties are delighted with.

There will be no disruption to project delivery, staffing, or the support provided to the Research in Practice Partner network as a result of it becoming the newest member of the NCB family.

'Research in Practice is thrilled to be joining the NCB family! We will always be proud of our Dartington heritage, but we are excited to be joining such an esteemed organisation. The pressures facing the sector mean that our collective work has never been more important. NCB and Research in Practice know what a privilege it is to support our colleagues doing vital work in such tough circumstances. Our shared values and the clear synergy between our respective expertise means we can achieve even greater impact. We are excited about this next chapter and delighted by the warm response we’ve had to this news.'

Dez Holmes, Director of Research in Practice

As well as increasing experience and expertise, bringing the two organisations together combines reach across the sector – including local authorities, NHS and other local organisations, and academic networks – to enhance our role as a hub and translator of ideas and innovation.

Bringing Research in Practice into the NCB family also widens NCB’s expertise in reaching and supporting adults, parents and carers, whose welfare directly impacts the lives of children and young people.

NCB has a proud history of bringing together sector specialists, including the Council for Disabled Children, the Anti-Bullying Alliance, and the Childhood Bereavement Network, into one family comprised of members with distinct identities and approaches but a united mission: to build better childhoods for every child.

NCB and Research in Practice both hold deep specialist expertise, some of which overlaps and all of which complements the other and, crucially, both organisations hold shared values and missions.

'I am so pleased Research in Practice is joining the National Children’s Bureau. For 60 years, NCB has united individuals and organisations to build a better childhood. We combine cutting-edge research with the voices of lived experience to improve the complex, interconnected systems that support children to thrive. Our impact has been built on our ability to learn and evolve; Research in Practice’s expertise and well-deserved reputation for high-quality, evidence-informed work will greatly enhance our organisation and our ability to work across the systems that support children and adults to live better lives.'

Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children's Bureau

Bringing Research in Practice into the NCB family is a key element in delivering NCB’s ambitious new five-year strategy, United for a Better Childhood: Building Brighter Futures which will be published later in February, outlining new opportunities to have an even greater impact on the lives of babies, children and young people.