The Social Research Unit's offices in Dartington, Devon

Our offices in Dartington, Devon

The Social Research Unit at Dartington is an independent charity that seeks to increase the use of evidence of what works in the design and delivery of services for children and their families. We are also a strong advocate of prevention and early intervention based approaches.

We have over fifty years’ experience of researching what works in improving children’s outcomes across the education, health, social care and criminal justice systems.

We disseminate research on what works to people working at the frontline of services, by bridging the gap between social science evidence and everyday service delivery. We have significant expertise in the design, delivery and implementation of evidence-based programmes and interventions.

Much of our work is also focused on supporting decision-makers and practitioners to develop and use evidence of what works in decisions that get made about how children’s services are designed, commissioned and delivered. We work with local authorities, trusts and foundations, and children’s service providers across the UK and internationally.

Our work


We generate evidence of what works in improving children’s services and support decision-makers in children’s services to use high-quality data and evidence. More »

Our history

Royston Lambert, founder of the Social Research Unit

We were founded fifty years ago in Cambridge and now have offices in Dartington, Devon and London, and partners in Spain and Chicago. More »


Our team is trained in a mix of disciplines, including psychology, social policy, sociology and criminology. More »


Our board of trustees is chaired by Chris Robinson, former CEO of the Mayor’s Fund for London. More »

Fellows and associates

We work with a wide range of external experts from the UK and abroad. More »

Work for us

Find out more about developing your career at the Social Research Unit. More »

The Centre for Social Policy

The Centre for Social Policy was set up by the Social Research Unit at Dartington to provide an infrastructure for retired academics and policymakers to continue their work. More »