The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory aims to support the best possible decisions for children by improving the use of data and research evidence in the family justice system in England and Wales. It is being established by the Nuffield Foundation to meet the needs of practitioners who make pivotal decisions in the lives of children and families by:

  • Working with them to identify priority issues where research evidence may help guide practice.
  • Providing reliable summaries of what is, and is not, known from research or administrative data.
  • Combining knowledge from research with insights from policy, practice and user experience.
  • Working with practitioners, policy makers and organisations representing families and children to develop, update and test guidance and other tools based on that knowledge.

The Nuffield Foundation has appointed a development team to complete the set-up of the Observatory. The development team has a collaborative ethos and is working with stakeholders to finalise the Observatory’s initial priorities and to inform its work plan. 

Click here to view the timeline for developing the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory.

Scoping Study Read More

In June 2016 The Nuffield Foundation commissioned a consortium led by The Centre for Child and Family Justice Research at Lancaster University, to carry out a 12 month scoping study to explore the feasibility of establishing a new observatory and its potential functions.

This mixed-methods study comprised:

Making It Happen Read More

In 2017 the foundation published The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory for England and Wales: Making it Happen which summarised the findings of the scoping study and set out the foundation’s trustees intention to establish the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory for a five year incubation phase.

The Development phase Read More

The Nuffield Foundation identified a fund of up to £5 million initially that will be available for the Observatory’s incubation, beginning with a 12 month development phase from March 2018. A development team appointed by the foundation led by The Centre for Child and Family Justice Research are working to build the necessary infrastructure and operating model for the Observatory. The development phase will be followed by a pilot delivery phase to begin in Spring 2019.  

The details of this development phase projects can be found here

By the end of the development phase the following will be established:


  • The details of the delivery model for the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, with any delivery partners identified and key personnel in post.
  • A Governing Board, Stakeholder Advisory Council and Expert panel.
  • A Data Platform and Analytics Service.

Operational Approach

  • Development of a portfolio of Observatory resources and projects
  • The approach, mechanisms and quality standards for synthesising evidence and developing guidelines.
  • The model for working with regional satellite areas

Work Plan

By the end of the development phase there will be a clear work plan for at least the first year of the Nuffield FJO pilot

  • This will include regular analyses of patterns and outcomes, to include regional variation
  • A special interest project focusing on infants in the family justice system
  • A framework for evaluating the impact of the Nuffield FJO pilot phase and plans for ensuring future sustainability

Throughout the development phase and into the launch of the pilot delivery phase, the development team and the Foundation will engage with stakeholders through regional  partnerships and events and undertake a number of consultation activities. Stakeholders will be updated through regular communication, and resources will be made freely available as they are developed.

Current Vacancies Read More

Director of the Family Justice Observatory

We are recruiting the Director of the Family Justice Observatory. We are looking for candidates with a passion for improving outcomes for children and families, a strong track record in a leadership role and experience of catalysing research to influence policy and practice. Full information including how to apply can be found on our microsite. For more information, or a conversation about this role, please contact our search partners Green Park, by calling Jon Morrison on 020 3145 3430 or emailing Closing date 3rd January 2019, at noon.

Do pass on these details to others you think might be interested. 

Non-Executive Board positions

There are currently non-executive Board positions available at the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory. The newly appointed Chair of the Observatory, Sir James Munby, former President of the Family Division of the High Court of England and Wales, is looking to recruit up to 6 members from both England and Wales to a new governing board to support the creation and development of this important organisation and ensure that it achieves its aims. 

Click here for full details and how to apply. 

The Development Team

Following a national scoping study, the Nuffield Foundation appointed a development team to take forward the findings of the scoping study and build the essential infrastructure to enable the launch of The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory early in 2019.

Prof. Karen Broadhurst Prof. Karen Broadhurst Principal Investigator, NFJO Development Team Read bio
Carey Oppenheim Carey Oppenheim Independent Consultant - Nuffield Foundation Read bio
Claire Mason Claire Mason Events & Engagement Lead, NFJO Development Team Read bio
Lisa Holmes Lisa Holmes Co-Investigator, NFJO Development Team Read bio
Susannah Bowyer Susannah Bowyer Knowledge Engagement Lead: NFJO Development Team Read bio
Mary Ryan Mary Ryan Independant Consultant - NFJO Development Team Read bio
Chris Millan Chris Millan Project Officer +44 (0)1524 594255 Read bio
Angela Wilson-Farrer Angela Wilson-Farrer Engagement and Events Support Officer +44 (0)1524 593604 Read bio


Keep in touch

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Nuffield Family Justice Observatory
A new insight on the Quality Circle in Sussex is now available on the Nuffield FJO website: @researchIP @ReesCentre @NuffieldFJO @KarenB_LU 5 days ago
Nuffield Family Justice Observatory
Evidence from the sector led Care Crisis Review was given to two House of Commons Select Committees in the last week: @NuffieldFJO @ReesCentre @researchIP @FamilyRightsGp 1 week ago
Nuffield Family Justice Observatory
Additional film resources from the 'Born into Care' event are now available: @researchIP @NuffieldFJO @ReesCentre @KarenB_LU 2 weeks ago

The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory is being developed by the Nuffield Foundation working in partnership with a development team led by Professor Karen Broadhurst from The Centre for Child and Family Justice Research at Lancaster University