Peter FarrarPeter Farrar

Location: London

Qualifications: BSc Sociology, MPP Public Policy

I joined SQW a year ago, having previously worked at a couple of other policy research companies. In many ways this meant that working life at SQW felt quite familiar from the outset, but there are still some significant, and unique, advantages to working here.

One of my favourite things about SQW is the range of opportunities there are to work alongside senior policy-makers and experts on the design and development of innovative, relevant programmes of national significance. For example, I am currently undertaking research on an NHS programme trialling various improvements to patients’ experiences of hospital and community services. These are in the process of being piloted in a few different areas of the country, and the findings of our research will help inform the approach the NHS takes to implementing similar changes nationally over the next few years.

I am also part of a team supporting the Government with a project to help people return to work after an extended period out of employment due to caring responsibilities (including for parental leave). Our work involves exploring the difference that the Government’s support has made to these individuals’ skills, confidence and employability, and identifying and sharing best practice that other similar schemes will be able to learn from. Being able to shape the ongoing development of programmes like these, and support their future success, is really gratifying.

The work I do varies from project to project. On some I will support colleagues by undertaking and reporting on primary research; on others, I will design our research project and then manage it from start to finish. There are also regular opportunities to get out travelling and meeting different people - whether that’s visiting a hospital to speak to the doctors and nurses delivering a new service, or sharing our findings with policy-makers and other programme stakeholders at engagement events.

One of the great things about working at a company of our size is the amount of responsibility you get. Not just to influence the projects you work on, but also the formal and informal opportunities to contribute to the direction of the company as a whole (which all staff members, at all levels, do). That said, there are still enough people around to make the office a fun place to be – as the London office’s distinctly average pub quiz team would attest. We also have a Bake Off competition, which I won last year – although the major point of discussion ever since has been less the quality of the baking than whether or not the voting system is rigged!