How we work
As an educational charity, Reform is committed to producing excellent research which we communicate effectively; deliver policy events that push the debate forward and generate ideas; raise funds with integrity and retain motivated and committed colleagues.
The quality of our research underpins everything that Reform does.
We secure that quality by recruiting and retaining a high-quality research team of up to ten people. Less often, we commission research from external experts.
We complete research projects according to a clear system of quality assurance, including some initial internal stages as well as the design of and compliance with a personalised ‘peer-review’ system for each project. We have decided to consistently apply this process to all our research projects since mid-2018. Projects have an external advisory board and a network of external reviewers. We ensure that advisory board members have a breadth of skills encompassing technical skills, expert knowledge and frontline experience. This is to ensure that they can check the technical accuracy of papers, but also make sure that our recommendations remain practical. Within the network of external reviewers, we make sure to have a range of skills and views represented, always making sure to engage with at least one person who disagrees with the argument a paper might be presenting.
Occasionally short research papers are sponsored by our supporter companies. This research is carried out independently by the Reform team. Sponsors are interviewed by our researchers for the research, alongside a range of other relevant interviewees, and are asked for comments on the near-final draft report for accuracy, along with other readers. Reform always holds the pen and is protective of its reputation for independence.
Reform's events push the public policy debate forward. A space for policy ideas to be generated, discussed and explored, we invite a range of stakeholders to take part. These include government, opposition and other policy-makers; parliamentarians; public sector leaders; the third sector; media; businesses and other experts.
We are non-party political and invite speakers from across the political spectrum and across public services to engage with us.
Many of our smaller events are held under the Chatham House Rule, which protects the identities of attendees. This creates an environment where attendees feel safe to talk honestly and openly.
We work with sponsors for many of our policy events. Doing so gives us an opportunity to work with organisations that can bring their expertise to the policy discussion. As with research, Reform retains independence and editorial control over all of its events, from conception to end delivery.
Our research has little point if it has no impact on policymakers and leaders of public services themselves. We measure our impact through:
The quality of attendance at our 50-60 policy events per year.
The amount of media coverage we receive, since the national media is one of the most important places where policy ideas are discussed.
The interest shown by policymakers in our work directly, for example invitations to give evidence to Select Committees in the House of Commons and House of Lords.
The many requests we receive to speak at major conferences or policy events by industry bodies, trade associations, charities, academic bodies, policy networks and corporate organisations.
The strength of our network across the political spectrum and in public services, which supports everything that we do.
Reform is a charity (registered number 1103739). Reform’s donors support us because they agree with our mission i.e. to improve public services for all and deliver value for money.
The charity is supported by two groups of donors – individuals and companies. Individual donors support the charity’s general work, as do our Corporate Partners. Companies also sponsor particular events, for example a conference or roundtable discussion, or, less often, pieces of research.
We publish the names of companies that have supported us in the previous year and the levels of their donations. Please find these details on our Transparency page.
Our work depends on the commitment of our people just as much as that of our donors. We aim to win that commitment with a good employment offer including competitive salaries, a pension, medical and dental insurance and flexible working. Just as importantly, we seek to create an open working culture based on giving responsibility and opportunity to our people from their first day, strongly supported by senior management.
As a small organisation, we know that our colleagues will move on, at the right time, to further their careers. We seek to give them the widest range of opportunities while at Reform and invest in them through internal mentoring and formal training where appropriate. Our aim is to assist everyone at Reform to achieve their full potential.
We are proud that former Reform colleagues have gone on to hold impressive positions in the public and private sectors and even in the Cabinet.
Reform is committed to making its recruitment process as fair as possible to give every candidate an equal opportunity. That’s why we use BeApplied which enables us to use blind recruiting in the first stage of our recruitment.
Instead of asking for cover letters or CVs, we ask candidates to answer a series of questions to give us an insight into their experience to date, without giving away personal indicators that could adversely influence or create bias. Thus we can make decisions based on an individual’s actual experience and relevance to the role.
Working with Reform
There are various ways to work with and engage with Reform’s work.
Annual corporate partnership
Join our Corporate Partnership programme. We value our relationship with our Partners very highly and by joining our partnership programme, there are opportunities to attend our policy events and engage closely with our senior team.
Find out more about our partnership programme here.
Sponsor an event or a research project
Reform works with companies who sponsor one of our policy events or one of our research projects.
To find out more about how we work read the ‘Research’ and ‘Events’ sections above, or click here.
Another way you can work with us is by becoming a host partner. This involves providing venue space, or covering direct costs, of one of our policy events.
As our events vary by size and type, and span across the range of sector-specific and cross-cutting issues we focus on, we have the opportunity to work with a variety of companies that have a range of diverse interests.
To find out more about our upcoming events programme, click here.
We are always keen to engage with different public sector and research organisations to share knowledge and expertise. This could involve sharing technical expertise, providing us with case studies or 'on-the-ground' perspectives in public services, or giving us a useful international perspective.