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Nuffield Foundation appoints Board and Director of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

New data partnership established to examine how the family justice system is working

The Nuffield Foundation has appointed Lisa Harker as Director of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (Nuffield FJO), a new organisation which aims to improve the lives of children and families by making sure that decision-making in the family justice system in England and Wales is informed by the best data and research evidence.

Lisa has 30 years' experience of advancing policy and practice to improve the lives of children. She is currently Chief Executive of children's charity The Art Room, and was previously Director of Strategy at the NSPCC, Co-Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), and the government's 'child poverty tsar'. Lisa is also a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford and has first-hand experience of the family justice system as an adoptive parent of two children.

The Nuffield FJO Governing Board has also been appointed, following a recruitment process overseen by its Chair, Sir James Munby. The Governing Board members are: 

Professor Karen Broadhurst has been appointed as Principal Academic Advisor to the Governing Board.

In addition to these appointments, the Nuffield FJO has established a new data partnership with the Centre for Child and Family Justice Research at Lancaster University and the SAIL Databank at Swansea University. Funded with a grant of £2.2 million from the Nuffield Foundation, the data partnership will enable analysis of and access to datasets held by Cafcass and Cafcass Cymru, and to link them with others, providing much-needed information about the characteristics and pathways of children and families through services, and their outcomes.

Through the data partnership, the Nuffield FJO will also provide training and support for researchers and analysts in the use of data, increasing the capacity within the family justice sector to understand, interpret and apply data. The Nuffield FJO will publish accessible outputs for practitioners based on both regular analyses of the data, and more in-depth study of specific trends and issues.

The Nuffield FJO is working with the Welsh Government Knowledge and Analytics Service and the Administrative Data Research Unit Wales. It will also work with the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Education and the Administrative Data Research Partnership.

For the full announcement, click here.