The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory improves the lives of children and families by putting data and evidence at the heart of the family justice system. 

Our family justice system urgently needs to improve. All of the people who work within it – judges, lawyers, social workers, Cafcass guardians, policy makers and more – share a common goal: helping children and families to thrive in the future. But understanding of how to achieve that ambition is limited by a lack of readily available administrative data and research evidence. Too few opportunities also exist for those involved to share their knowledge and experiences.   The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory exists to find and fill the gaps in our understanding of the family justice system, highlight the areas where change will have the biggest impact, and foster collaboration to make that change happen. A bridge between the academic community and frontline practitioners, we are independent and relentless in our focus on ensuring children get the best support based on the best available information. We work in three closely connected ways:

  • revealing the big picture
  • shining a spotlight on key issues
  • empowering frontline decision makers.

In everything we do, our work is guided by the experiences of children and families right across England and Wales. We were established by the Nuffield Foundation in 2019. Everything we do reflects Nuffield’s commitment to independent thinking, collaboration and rigorous, evidence-based research.

View our infographic showing how we work to create change.

Core Team

The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory is being funded and incubated by the Nuffield Foundation during its pilot phase which runs from 2019 to 2023.

Mary Ryan Mary Ryan Associate Read bio
Lisa Harker Lisa Harker Director Read bio
Martin Burns Martin Burns Executive Coordinator Read bio
Beverley Barnett-Jones Beverley Barnett-Jones Associate Director for Practice and Impact Read bio
Jordan Rehill Jordan Rehill Researcher Read bio
Jude Eyre Jude Eyre Associate Director for Strategy and Delivery Read bio
Alice Roe Alice Roe Researcher Read bio

Governing Board

The work of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory is overseen by a Governing Board. Professor Karen Broadhurst is Principal Academic Advisor to the Governing Board and reports to the Trustees of the Nuffield Foundation on an annual basis. Nuffield Family Justice Observatory will also have a Stakeholder Advisory Council in coming months.

Carey Oppenheim Independent Consultant - Nuffield Foundation Read bio
Sir James Munby Chair, former President of the Family Division
Sally-Ann Jenkins Head of Children's and Families Services, Newport City Council
Sophie Kershaw Millar Head of Safeguarding and Quality Assurance, Camden Council
Her Honour Judge Lesley Newton Manchester Family and County Court
Andrew Webb former President of the Association of Directors of Children's Services
Teresa Williams Director of Strategy at Cafcass

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 in early 2019.

Prof. Karen Broadhurst Principal Investigator, NFJO Development Team Read bio
Claire Mason Events & Engagement Lead, NFJO Development Team Read bio
Lisa Holmes Co-Investigator, NFJO Development Team Read bio
Susannah Bowyer Knowledge Engagement Lead: NFJO Development Team Read bio
Liz Trinder Private Law Expert: NFJO Development Team Read bio

Keep in touch

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