Read PBE's 2022 in Review

2022 will be remembered as a year of enormous change. Though it began with the dialling down of pandemic restrictions and hope that more of our lives might be returning to normal, the outbreak of war in Europe quickly changed that view, prompting a cost of living crisis that has affected millions across the UK.

As ever, charities and community groups were there at every turn. When Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, the humanitarian support was immediate and impressive: from coordinated national fundraising and relief efforts, to community groups across the country providing homes and welcome. When the only monarch many have known in their lifetimes passed away, volunteering organisations ensured that those paying their respects were looked after. And, of course, when real financial hardship began to be felt by so many, it was the social sector which stepped in.

Against this backdrop, PBE continued to support the sector and – to an increasing degree – advise those policymakers and practitioners focused on supporting the nation’s wellbeing.

As pressure on the social sector increased, so charity demand for PBE’s services – from deep-dive impact evaluation to light-touch volunteer economist support – grew. To meet as much demand as possible, we continued to roll out the service delivery improvement programme started in 2020. As a result, we’re proud to say that PBE delivered support to four times as many social sector organisations per pound of spending in 2022 as it did in 2019. The waitlist for PBE help remains long, but it’s clearer than ever before that our model is effective and primed for further scaling as resources allow.

Alongside the very direct need presented by individual organisations in 2022, we saw growing urgency for an ambitious vision for the changes that the social sector – and civil society at large – requires to fully meet its potential. Through both PBE’s research into the state of the social sector and the Law Family Commission on Civil Society’s ambitious programme of policy development, we worked throughout the year to elevate critical issues within the social sector – like donor trends, energy costs and workforce burnout – to national level debate.

This follows significant investment throughout 2020 and 2021 in the skills and expertise PBE needed to deliver high quality, impactful research and policy development that can drive change at a systemic level. That investment has now begun paying off in the form of real change by regulators, policymakers and important actors within the social sector itself.

Underpinning all of PBE’s work in 2022 was a growing suite of partnerships which we hope to sustain in the coming years. Fulfilling our mission is only possible through close collaboration with others, and 2022 was the year that we put that belief into practice in every facet of our work. From academic institutions like University College London and Nottingham Trent University, and research organisations like the Economics Statistics Centre of Excellence and the Anna Freud Centre, through to other charities like Pilotlight, the National Lottery Community Fund’s HeadStart programme and funders like Impact100 London – the breadth and depth of the partnerships we’ve established this year stand us in great stead to accelerate our impact in 2023.

Read PBE's 2022 in Review