ORC International

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ORC International
Wholly owned subsidiary
Industry Marketing
Founded 1938 (1938)
Headquarters London, England, United Kingdom
Key people
Richard Cornelius (Managing Director)[1]
Services Market research
Revenue £13,793,315 (2008)[2]
Owner Opinion Research Corporation
Website www.orcinternational.co.uk

ORC International is a market research agency [3] and the global research operating unit of Opinion Research Corporation. The company's UK headquarters are located at 186 City Road, London,[4] adjacent to Silicon Roundabout, with another office in Manchester.

ORC International was ranked 13th worldwide and 26th domestically in the 2010 UK Research Industry League Tables published by the Market Research Society.[5] It is consistently a Honomichl Top 50 company, and ranked 20th in 2011.[6]


ORC International was founded in 1938 by market researcher Dr. Claude Robinson]. In 1992, ORC International expanded into the UK with the acquisition of Research by Telephone, in London. The company then acquired Gordon Simmons Research Group in 1993, and SIA Group in 1996, the merger being completed in 1998. In 2006, the firm (Opinion Research Corporation) was acquired by Infogroup (formerly InfoUSA) for $134.3M.[7] The company announced its return to independent status through a partnership and majority investment from Lake Capital effective 1 July 2011.[8]


The company undertakes market research for public and private sector organisations at both a local and a global level, doing customer research, employee engagement research, financial services research, and applications of IT in research and data collection.

Research areas[edit]

Employee research[edit]

ORC International conducts employee-engagement surveys for the main UK central government departments, including the Cabinet Office, DWP, MOD, MOJ, NHS,[9] and FCO. ORC International was appointed to conduct the pilot Civil Service Employee Engagement Survey across eleven UK government departments and encompassing some 250,000 civil servants.[10] Following the successful pilot all government departments employing 500,000 people in total, will complete the same survey.

The Civil Service People Survey was launched in October 2009, and is one of the largest employee opinion surveys ever undertaken.[11] The Civil Service People Survey was rolled out across a total of 96 departments, agencies and NDPBs. More than 340,000 people took part in Britain’s largest ever employee engagement survey aimed at improving innovation, efficiency and staff wellbeing in the Civil Service [12][13]

Employee engagement[edit]

London Councils, the local government association for London, back a recent study by ORC International which found clear associations between employee engagement and customer satisfaction in a local government context.[14]Linking employee and customer data – a new way forward for local government? identified some key findings: clear associations between staff understanding the goals of the Council and satisfaction levels amongst citizens and increased employee pride in working for the Council shown to have a positive impact on citizen satisfaction.[15][16]

In 2003, Nationwide Building Society and ORC International won the financial award in Marketing Magazine’s research awards for their work to develop a mathematical analysis tool that reveals the link between employee commitment, customer satisfaction and business performance. Working alongside the building society’s planning and development team, ORC International uncovered strong links between people management and its product sales, after analysing data from a mix of HR indicators, a staff attitude survey, sales figures and extensive customer research. This business model has been used to investigate how research data can be combined with management information and performance measures to gauge their relative impacts.[17]

Recent research by ORC International identified that employees in the global financial services sector are the most engaged. The 2010 Infogroup Perspectives survey explored healthy and sustainable employee engagement on a global scale, defining engaged employees as ones who are advocates for their organisation, committed to staying there in the future and going above and beyond their usual duties to achieve their organisation’s goals.[18] The survey results also identified the UK as the lowest performing country in the area of job security.[19]

Workers have "optimistic illusions" about their own health, according to 2011 research published by ORC International. Figures from the UK Healthy Workplace Survey reveal that 42% of regular smokers claim to be either healthy or very healthy. Just 17% of smoking employees perceived their lifestyle as an unhealthy one.The survey also found that only 12% consider their lifestyle to be unhealthy or very unhealthy, despite the fact that just 40% engage in at least three hours of exercise per week. [20][21]

Public sector[edit]

ORC International was commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in November 2009 to conduct an evaluation of the Companies Act 2006, to assess awareness of and compliance with or the adoption of key measures implemented. Overall, over a third of companies disagreed that Company Law had been simplified (34% NET), whilst one fifth of companies agreed indicating that time is needed for the changes to further embed themselves and for benefits to be realised.[22]

In December 2008, the standard VAT rate was temporarily reduced to 15 per cent; a change that remained in place until January 2010. ORC International was commissioned by HMRC to undertake research with businesses and trade associations to explore the compliance burden and commercial impact of the VAT rate change.[23][24][25][26] The research found that most businesses felt that it had no impact on either their customers (55%) or their organisation (63%).[27]

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has contracted ORC International to gather information which will inform the UK's Impact Assessment on possible changes to the Seveso II Directive.[28]

Charging Research conducted by ORC International for the Consumer Council for Water in 2007-8, found that customers believe metering is the fairest basis for charging for water services. However compulsory metering may be contentious as the research indicated 27% of customers oppose it and only 40% support it.[29]

In 2008 the Civil Aviation Authority, as part of a large-scale review of the passenger experience at major UK airports commissioned ORC International to interview passengers at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester Airports. One area that was highlighted as performing poorly against international service standards was customer service and attitude of airport staff.[30]

Research commissioned by St Mungo's in 2007 by ORC International found that by helping 125 homeless clients into proper and stable employment each year could save the economy as much as £5.6 million, or £45,000 per client, per year.[31]

Financial services[edit]

ORC International conducts the annual Customer Impact Survey for all 33 participating brands of the Association of British Insurers [32][33] Research conducted for the ABI in 2007 found that under half of households in the lowest income group held home contents insurance compared to over 80 per cent of those with average income.[34]

Research carried out in 2010 by ORC International reveals that one in five intermediaries active in the group pensions market believe they will have fewer customers and earn less as a result of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR).[35][36]

ORC International was commissioned in 2008 by the Association of British Insurers and the British Bankers Association to undertake research to evaluate consumer reactions to a new 'Assisted Purchase' distribution channel.[37] The research found that while there are clear indications that AP models will promote consumer benefit in terms of encouraging engagement with the financial services industry, there are challenges which still need to be addressed to reduce potential for consumer detriment.[37]

Customer research[edit]

The UK hotel chain Premier Inn uses a ‘Guest Recommend’ customer-satisfaction survey conducted by ORC International, which receives an average of 35,000 responses per month.[38]

This research was recognised by the Market Research Society as a finalist in their annual Research Excellence and Effectiveness Awards 2007. The panel commented: "The judges enjoyed this paper because it demonstrated how, with the use of event based online data collection and real time web based reporting, it is possible to take the assessment of hotel guests' satisfaction to a new level. The judges thought that this was surely the end of the tired little self-administered questionnaires we find lying in our hotel rooms and the start of a fresh new e-approach to assessing customer satisfaction in hotels." [39]

ORC International conducts customer-satisfaction research in the UK and overseas for restaurant chain Yo! Sushi.[40]

Applications of IT[edit]

ORC International provides Data Management Services including Data Cleaning, Database design and development, Data warehousing and Database evaluation. They have been providing these services for over 15 years in both the public and private sectors.[41]

Arts Council England has made it faster and easier for organisations who receive funding to submit their annual figures, by launching a new online tool developed by ORC International.[42]

Telephone data collection[edit]

ORC International's call centre in London is one of the largest single-site centres in the UK.[43]


ORC International's quality systems are compliant to and assessed against ISO 27001, ISO 9001 and ISO 20252 for all customer research activities and client application software design and support.

ORC International has corporate membership to the Association of Survey Computing (ASC), a non-profit organisation, affiliated to the British Computer Society and the International Association for Statistical Computing. It has close working links with the Royal Statistical Society,[44] the Social Research Association and the Market Research Society.


The company is ranked #30 of 85 in the MRS Research and Insight Industry League Table (UK) 2011) [2]


  1. ^ "Customer Research, Employee... ORC International". Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  2. ^ a b "The UK Research Industry League Tables, Market Research Society" (PDF). 2010-01-01. 
  3. ^ "Market Research Leagues". 2009-09-09. 
  4. ^ "UK-based design company Margolis Office Environments has completed the fit out for research firm ORC International's new offices on City Road, London". 2011-09-15. 
  5. ^ "The UK Research Industry League Tables, Market Research Society" (PDF). 2010-01-01. 
  6. ^ "The 2011 Honomichl Top 50 Report, Marketing News Magazine/Jack Honomichl" (PDF). 2011-06-30. 
  7. ^ "ORC Corporate History". 
  8. ^ "ORC International returns to independent status -- announces partnership with and investment from Lake Capital". 7 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "NHS Staff Survey - Approved contractors - ORC International" (PDF). 
  10. ^ "House of Commons Written Answers for 17 March 2009". 2009-03-17. 
  11. ^ "Civil servants to receive first Whitehall-wide engagement survey". 09-10-2009.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. ^ "UK’s biggest staff survey will help improve Civil Service". 03-12-2009.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^ "Sally Winston, (2010) "Using technology to connect with people on employee engagement", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 9 Iss: 6, pp.5 - 10". 
  14. ^ "Linking employee engagement and customer satisfaction" (PDF). 2009-05-27. 
  15. ^ "Linking employee engagement and customer satisfaction". 2009-05-27. 
  16. ^ "Linking employee and customer data - a new way forward for local government? - ORC International research" (PDF). 
  17. ^ "1 per cent increase in staff satisfaction equates to a 2.3 per cent increase in sales of personal loans". Archived from the original on 26 September 2006. 
  18. ^ "Financial services employees are the happiest, Money Marketing UK, 16th Sept 2010". 
  19. ^ "New Survey Uncovers the UK is Falling Short on Employee Engagement, HR Network News, 9th Sept 2010". 
  20. ^ "Study reveals misguided views on employee wellbeing, Institute of Leadership and Management, 26th August 2011". 
  21. ^ "Employees overestimate their levels of health, according to ORC International". HR Magazine. 25 August 2011. 
  22. ^ "Evaluation of the Companies Act 2006, Executive Summary, Samantha Fettiplace and Rebecca Addis, ORC International." (PDF). 02-08-2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  23. ^ "House of Commons Written Answers for 12 May 2009". 12-05-2009.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  24. ^ "HMRC Report: Compliance Costs and Commercial Impact of December 2008 VAT Rate Change" (PDF). 01-10-2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  25. ^ "VAT rise will cost small business dear". 2010-10-21. 
  26. ^ "A new report undertaken by financial researchers ORC International on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs, meanwhile, revealed that, contrary to earlier suggestions, the increase in VAT in January this year in the UK did not cost less to implement than the decrease introduced in December 2008.". 2010-10-19. 
  27. ^ "HMRC estimates cost to business of 2008 change. ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales)". 2010-10-18. 
  28. ^ "HSE Review of the Seveso II Directive". 
  29. ^ "Future Flood and Water Management Legislation, Memorandum submitted by the Consumer Council for Water (FFW 27) to the EFRA enquiry.". 2010-10-18. 
  30. ^ "Civil Aviation Authority - ORC International Report - Research on the airpassenger experience at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester airports". 
  31. ^ "Youth Unemployment and the Future Jobs Fund, Written Evidence submitted by St Mungo’s, 27th Sept 2010". 
  32. ^ "ABI Customer Impact Survey" (PDF). 
  33. ^ "The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has awarded ORC International the contract to carry out its Customer Impact Survey for the third consecutive year.". 
  34. ^ "Financial Inclusion and Insurance:Meeting low income consumers’ needs, Association of British Insurers 2007-8". 
  35. ^ "New Research Reveals Expected Impact of the Retail Distribution Review, Business Credit Management UK". 2010-10-13. 
  36. ^ "Group pension intermediaries fear RDR hit, IFA Online". 2010-10-13. 
  37. ^ a b "Joint ABI/BBA Consumer Research on Assisted Purchase". 2009-10-30. 
  38. ^ "Building the Premier Inn brand - listening to the customer ethos" (PDF). 
  39. ^ "Market Research Society - Research Excellence & Effectiveness Awards 2007 - Finalists". 
  40. ^ "Yo! Sushi appoints ORC International to conduct customer research". 
  41. ^ "Data Marketing Show, London 2010 - ORC International". 
  42. ^ "Arts Council England launches web app for faster funding figures - publictechnology.net". 2009-11-27. 
  43. ^ "IQCS (Interviewer Quality Control Scheme) Member Company - ORC International". 
  44. ^ "Fiona Gilmore of ORC International presentation to the Royal Statistical Society Future Prospects Fair". 11-03-2009.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]