Kantar Public (formerly TNS-BMRB)

TNS-BMRB, established in 1933 and now part of the Kantar Public network, undertakes research and public engagement to inform policymakers and stakeholders.

Mission and Purpose

Now part of the global Kantar Public network, TNS-BMRB engages in research that “underpins decision-making by policy makers across national and local Government at the highest level, and provide[s] knowledge which helps the private and third sectors plan and care for society.”[1] In order to do so, they gather national statistics through surveys and public dialogues which allow a range of participants to carefully consider and deliberate issues, also enabling them to learn and become more motivated to respond to local challenges.[5]

Origins and Development

In 1933, BMRB was established in the UK “during a surge of interest in social study” beginning as the research arm of the advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson, which recognized “the benefits of increasing its market knowledge by talking to their customers directly.”[1] After World War II, their priorities shifted from commercial patterns to social problems of the time period, such as rationing, workforce depletion, and wartime communications.[1]

Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding

TNS-BMRB is part of the Kantar Public network, which provides insights and actionable recommendations to clients, worldwide, based on data and evidence.[2] Led by acting CEO, Ben Toombs, the organization’s senior staff are “acknowledged leaders in the social research sector.”[3]

Specializations, Methods and Tools

As a public policy research company, TNS-BMRB has conducted large-scale social surveys and focus groups on various topics including work and employment; education; and children and family policy; they work on behalf of government departments, local authorities, and charities.[4] They aim to provide responsive policy evaluation exploring: “policy implementation (formative evaluation); how policy is delivered (process evaluation); what difference the policy makes (impact assessment); and how far the benefits justify the costs (economic analysis).”[5]

To this organization, qualitative research is seen as valuable to “evaluate where improvements and efficiencies can be made across public services” by helping government understand the views and priorities of the British public.[5] Therefore, they use in-depth interviews, focus groups, ethnography, deliberation, online and visual methods, and peer-led research. Kantar Public also aims to “specialize in research with ‘hard to reach’ groups including those on low incomes, the learning disabled, those with mental health issues, black and minority ethnic communities, and children and young people.”[5]

Major Projects and Events

TNS-BMRB (now Kantar Public UK) has worked with “prestigious scientific organisations in areas including public engagement, communications, policy development, evaluation, and improving regulation.”[6] One such programme was with Sciencewise and the research councils involved in delivering public dialogue studies on: global food security and open data (RCUK), synthetic biology, stem cells and nanotechnology (BBSRC, EPSRC), and geo-engineering for climate change (Royal Society).

Analysis and Lessons Learned

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See Also

Public engagement with shale gas and oil

Public Dialogue on Data Openness, Data Re-use, and Data Management

UK Public Engagement on Genomics, Genetics and Redesign of the Human Genetics Commission

Reviewing Public Engagement on Science Policy (Science, Trust, and Public Engagement Strand 1)


[1] Kantar Public UK. Abous US.

[2] Kantar Group. (2020). Government & Public Sector.

[3] Kantar Public UK. Research Experts.

[4] Kantar Public UK. For Participants.

[5] Kantar Public UK. Expertise.

[6] Kantar Public UK. Policy Areas.

External Links