Associates of PFRC

Nick Smith

An Associate of PFRC since 1998, Nick has worked in social research environment for 27 years. His career began with Public Attitude Surveys (PAS) – then one of the country’s leading social research companies – and then BMRB, before establishing The Research Partnership. Nick has particular expertise in large-scale projects and complex social surveys relating to employment, social security, financial, housing and health issues.

Over the last ten years Nick has worked regularly with PFRC on projects including the first Saving Gateway evaluation (for HM Treasury); baseline research at the inception of the Child Trust Fund (for HM Revenue & Customs); the baseline survey of financial capability and the evaluation of the Pathfinder Money Guidance service (both for the Financial Services Authority).

Working in his own right, Nick regularly carries out research on behalf of central, regional and local government. He is a past Chair (and vice-Chair) of the Social Research Association and believes strongly in the principles ascribed to by the Association in terms of quality research carried out under its ethical guidelines. He is also a full Member of the Market Research Society.

Claire Whyley

Claire is a recognised, respected and widely-published consumer champion and thought-leader, specialising in consumer behaviour and decision-making, consumer protection and consumer-focussed regulation. A professional researcher and policy analyst, with experience across a range of markets, she has particular knowledge and expertise in relation to financial services. Claire has almost twenty years experience of undertaking qualitative and quantitative research, and translating the findings into clear, actionable policy recommendations. Her recent work has covered topics including private tenants and financial exclusion; low income consumers’ access to and use of banking services and consumer credit; the impact on consumers of tighter mortgage regulation; illegal money lending; the needs of people seeking debt advice; and access to cash and payment services.

Claire is currently Director of Sliced Bread Consulting Ltd, a research and policy consultancy that she established in 2010. During her career she has held positions in a number of respected policy research organisations, including the Policy Studies Institute, the Personal Finance Research Centre, the Welsh Consumer Council and the National Consumer Council.

Sally Taylor

Sally has over twenty years experience in qualitative policy research. She has with employment experience at Manchester and York Universities, Department of Employment, National Centre for Social Research, MORI and BMRB. She is skilled practitioner in all aspects of qualitative research and has provided training on qualitative research methods for audiences including the Cabinet Office, NDCs, charities and private sector consultancies.

Much of her work has involved researching ‘hard to reach’ and socially/financially excluded groups (e.g. for Treasury, DWP and various local authorities). She has undertaken a number of studies exploring awareness, usage and experiences of a range of means tested benefits, including DLA, Attendance Allowance and Social Fund grants and loans. Sally is also experienced in undertaking and analysing data from interviews with senior policy makers and stakeholders.

Simon Hearn

Simon is a Chartered Statistician with almost 25 years experience gained within research and database marketing. During this time he has delivered numerous insight-based projects for a wide range of clients across many different sectors. His particular skills relate to predictive modelling and the construction of segmentation strategies.

Typical services include statistical model building, predictive analytics, data segmentation, analytical training/mentoring and consulting on issues around measurement and data strategy.

Alison Walker

Alison is an experienced social researcher with more than 30 years of experience of social  surveys, including commissioning. She has particular expertise in large scale complex surveys and in appropriate methods of dissemination, but also has experience of working at a local level through her involvement with local surveys of police confidence and the Place Survey (used to measure performance of Local Authorities). Alison started her career in the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys which she returned to later in life having had a successful career as an independent social researcher working for government, academia and the commercial sector. During this time she developed expertise in a wide range of topic areas. More recently she has been involved in criminal justice system research, including Crime Surveys in the Home Office, and Re-offending, Prison and Probation statistics in the Ministry of Justice. Since leaving full time work, she has returned to her independent role and includes EHRC, MoJ and the University of Bristol among her clients. 

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