Institute for Public Policy Research

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Institute for Public Policy Research
IPPR logo.png
Type Progressive think tank
Headquarters 14 Buckingham Street, WC2N 6DF
Director Nick Pearce

IPPR (the Institute for Public Policy Research) is a thinktank based in the UK with a centre-left viewpoint. It was founded in 1988. It produces research and policy ideas committed to upholding values of social justice, democratic reform and environmental sustainability.

The founding director was James Cornford.[1] The current director is Nick Pearce,[2] a former Head of the No. 10 Policy Unit and special advisor to David Blunkett MP. Former members of staff include the current pensions minister Liberal Democrat MP Steve Webb and former Labour cabinet ministers Patricia Hewitt and David Miliband.

The Institute edits a quarterly journal called Juncture (formerly PPR and New Economy), published by Wiley-Blackwell, which features articles from academics and politicians.

IPPR is based in London and IPPR North has branches in Newcastle and Manchester. The organisation is an independent registered charity. Funding comes from the following:[3]

  • trust and foundation grants
  • European and international funds
  • central and local government funding
  • corporate, public sector and voluntary sector support
  • individual donors

Aims and objectives[edit]

IPPR is committed to the following objectives:[4]

  • Combating inequality: Not just through distributing some of the proceeds of growth to the least well off, but by taking active steps to share power, opportunity, income and wealth much more evenly.
  • Empowering citizens: Not simply by handing down responsibility from the state, but giving people real power, security and resources to shape and control their destiny.
  • Promoting social responsibility: Not treating people as atomised individuals, but recognising that society is made up of interdependent individuals, who flourish because of the ties and networks that support them.
  • Creating a fair and sustainable economy: Not only through better regulated financial markets that move away from greed and debt, but through a commitment to a low carbon, less consumerist and more inclusive growth and prosperity that helps alleviate the plight of the global poor and protects the future of the planet.
  • Revitalising democracy: Not just through sweeping away outmoded practices at Westminster and embracing political pluralism, but by radically transforming democratic processes and establishing new ways of doing politics at local and national levels, in Europe and internationally.

Policy areas[edit]

IPPR undertakes research in the following areas:[5]

  • Economic policy
  • Climate change, transport and energy
  • Family, community and work
  • Migration, trade and development
  • Politics and power
  • Public service reform


IPPR was the brainchild of Lord Hollick, who developed the idea for an independent progressive think tank in 1986. With Lord Eatwell, Lord Hollick spent two years establishing the institute, which was publicly launched in 1988 with Tessa Blackstone as its first chair and James Cornford as its first director.

One of its first reports recommended congestion charging for London and since then IPPR has been at the forefront of progressive policy development.

In the wake of Labour’s fourth successive general election defeat in 1992, IPPR led the groundbreaking Commission on Social Justice, which helped to revitalise centre-left thinking and lay the ground work for Labour’s election victory in 1997. Tony Blair said of the report 'it will provide the basis for a vital national debate about the future of work and welfare. It is essential reading for everyone who wants a new way forward for our country.'[6]

The secretary of the commission was David Miliband, one of many distinguished alumni of IPPR, who also include former Labour cabinet minister Patricia Hewitt and rising MPs Liz Kendall, Rushanara Ali and Tristram Hunt.

IPPR’s profile grew under the directorships of Gerald Holtham (1994-1998), Matthew Taylor (1999-2003) and Nick Pearce (2003-2007), with Sir Chris Powell serving for much of this time as chair. During these years, IPPR led thinking on devolution, elected mayors, family-friendly working, asset-based welfare, and public service reform. IPPR North was established in 2004, with an office opening in Newcastle.

IPPR was the winner of the prestigious Prospect Think Tank of the Year award in 2001 and in 2007 became the first repeat winner.

When Nick Pearce left to become Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit, Lisa Harker and Carey Oppenheim took over as co-directors (2007-2010). Among the notable achievements of that period was the highly influential Commission on National Security for the 21st Century, chaired by Lord Paddy Ashdown and Lord George Robertson. The commission's report was described by the former chancellor, foreign secretary and deputy Prime Minister, Lord Geoffrey Howe as: 'the most lucid and impressive analysis of what is happening in the world I have seen, despite ten years in the Cabinet.'

In 2009, IPPR turned 21 and won the Green Think Tank of the year award for its groundbreaking work on climate change.

John Makinson, chairman and chief executive of the Penguin Group, served as chair of IPPR from 2007 until 2010, when former work and pensions secretary James Purnell took over, marking his return to IPPR, where he had worked as researcher nearly 20 years earlier.

Nick Pearce returned as Director in September 2010.

Influential research[edit]

In the mid-1990s, the IPPR was best known for its Commission on Social Justice, which provided the basis for many of the policies of the New Labour government that came to power in 1997, including the New Deal. One of IPPR's first policy ideas was congestion charging which was subsequently introduced by Ken Livingstone. Child Trust Funds were first conceived by the IPPR in 2000 and were subsequently adopted by the government in 2005.[7]

The IPPR is a founding member and the acting secretariat of the Global Climate Network, an alliance of influential think-tanks and research institutes working on climate change policy in nine countries, including the USA, China, India and South Africa.


IPPR's trustees are:[8]


  1. ^ Andrew Denham and Mark Garnett (2006) 'What works'? British think tanks and the 'end of ideology', The Political Quarterly 77(2), pp. 156-165
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "How we are funded". Institute for Public Policy Research. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  4. ^ "About us". Institute for Public Policy Research. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  5. ^ "IPPR research themes". Institute for Public Policy Research. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  6. ^ "IPPR's history". Institute for Public Policy Research. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  7. ^ IPPR About ippr: Influence on policy, accessed 16 September 2006
  8. ^ "Trustees". IPPR. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 

External links[edit]