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.
- 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.
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
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.
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.