Our vision

Following the money

This paper focuses on think tank transparency within the UK. It includes rankings of every think tank within the UK, some of the major issues with the lack of transparency in the current system and proposes solutions which increase transparency.

A paper cover in grey on a light grey background. Under this is the words "Following the money. Who funds think tanks and how we can increase transparency". Under this is an image of a pink piggy bank with a golden pound coin falling into it. Beside the piggy bank is a man in pink trousers and purple top on a bean bag. He is holding a purple laptop and next to him is a pile of pound coins. Besides this is a phone with a series of graphs displayed on the screen. Under this are the words "Research paper. By Torrin Wilkins, November 6th 2023".

Following the money: Who funds think tanks and how we can increase transparency.

This paper focuses on think tank transpareny within the UK. It includes rankings of every think tank within the UK, some of the major issues with the lack of transparency in the current system and proposes solutions which increase transparency.
A paper cover in white on a light grey background. This has the title "Following the money, condensed version" with the words at the bottom "Commissioned by Garvin Brown".

Following the money - one page summary

One page summary version of our paper "Following the money".

Quick summary

  • The paper analyses over one hundred think tanks and similar organisations. In total we found that 22% of think tanks did not display a total income and only 32% of think tanks revealed all funders over £7,500. We also saw that right wing organisations were less transparent than left wing organisations.
  • Our polling partners Millbank commissioned Deltapoll asked 1,036 adults from Great Britain between the 19th to the 20th October 2023 about think tank transparency. The overall result was clear, the public do not view think tanks as transparent. It was a view shared by every subgroup in the poll regardless of region, age, political leaning, employment status, sex, voting intention, social class, how they voted in the referendum and whether they were in a red wall seat. Overall, 59% of respondents thought that think tanks were not transparent. Only 19% of respondents thought that they were transparent whilst 22% answered “Don’t know”.
  • The paper looks at donations from US sources to piece together a picture of donations to UK think tanks. Policy Exchange has had the most donations from the United States with a total of $3,877,309 since 2000, the IEA had $3,095,291 in donations and the Adam Smith Institute had $1,713,918.
  • We propose a new funding transparency body which would support organisations to increase transparency, specific ICO guidance on donation transparency and reforms to lobbying.

View the data

Following the data

See our interactive page with the data from our paper, interactive graphs and polling data.


The words in black "Byline Times" with a sphere in the middle with a figure with wings flying across it. Below this in orange is the word "Exclusive".

EXCLUSIVE: Time to Tackle ‘Dark Money’ in Politics – As Voters Demand Transparency Over Britain’s Opaque Think Tanks

"We know very little about the funding for many of the UK’s leading think tanks – but a new report sheds some light".

Politico London Influence

"A new report from Centre — which bills itself as a “centrist and moderate” think tank — digs into the sector itself and argues for more transparency around think tank donations and funding".

Light must be shed on dark money’s presence in politics, new report says

"Nearly 60% demand more details of how think tanks are funded - and findings show right wingers are less transparent than those on the left".
A sideways word "THE" in a yellow box. Next to this is the words "YORKSHIRE POST" in black.

Paper calls for new transparency body for think-tanks to boost confidence in sector

"A funding transparency body for think-tanks should be created by the Government to improve confidence in the sector, according to a new report".


Torrin Wilkins

Director and Founder

Torrin founded Centre in 2020. In the role has written numerous papers including one backed by the Gaps in Support APPG which contained 260 MPs. He has also written policies for political parties and appeared on a wide range of media including TV and radio. He has a Political Studies degree from Aberystwyth University.

Reaserchers and editors

Jasneet Samrai

Deputy Director (internal)

Jasneet coordinates our team and helps to set the policy direction for Centre. They work at Breast Cancer Now, previously worked at Oxfam and has also been a campaign organiser helping to elect 3 MEP’s. Jasneet is also Head of Safeguarding and Pastoral Care.

Pushkin Defyer

Alumni Network Chair

Pushkin was previously on the executive of the Young Liberals and is now a member of the Labour Party. He has worked with candidates from multiple parties during election campaigns, mainly supporting them with his knowledge of digital campaigning.

Will Barber – Taylor

Deputy Director (Outreach)

Will hosts Events and Podcasts for Centre. He also co-hosts the Debated Podcast and works as the Digital Campaigns and Media Officer for Generation Rent. Alongside this he hosts the Not A Day For Soundbites Podcast and is the Chair of the University of Warwick Young Fabians Society.

Commissioned by

The words "Commissioned by Garvin Brown" in black writing.

Commissioned by Garvin Brown

This paper was commissioned by Garvin Brown, a retired executive and former Chairman of his family's drinks business, Brown-Forman Corp. He is also a Venture Partner at Ascension, an early stage VC fund, and a Senior Advisor at Ispahani Advisory, advising family businesses on corporate governance.

Polling partner

The word "MILLBANK" in black text on a white background.

Millbank Think Tank

Millbank is a not-for-profit, cross-party, independent, UK think tank. They make sure better policy is being made, for those it's made for.