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HandWiki. Civitas (Think Tank). Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 13 April 2024).
HandWiki. Civitas (Think Tank). Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 13, 2024.
HandWiki. "Civitas (Think Tank)" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 13, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, November 22). Civitas (Think Tank). In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "Civitas (Think Tank)." Encyclopedia. Web. 22 November, 2022.
Civitas (Think Tank)

Civitas: The Institute for the Study of Civil Society is a United Kingdom think tank working on issues related to democracy and social policy.

policy think tank democracy

1. History and Activities

According to ConservativeHome, Civitas "started as the Health & Welfare Unit of the Institute of Economic Affairs, but divorced from it in order to grow and because libertarian elements within the IEA disapproved on the focus on non-narrowly economic issues."[1]

In 2009, their income was £975,311 and staff size was 19.[1]

Civitas, originally based at 77 Great Peter Street,[1] is now based at 55 Tufton Street, in the same premises as Business for Britain and where Vote Leave was originally registered. According to newspaper reports from 2016, Civitas accounts showed that it paid rent of around £3,250 a month for its offices.[2]

The stated underlying purpose of Civitas is to deepen public understanding of the legal, institutional and moral framework that makes a free and democratic society possible. They state that what they do is:

  • Support informed public debate and encourage consensus by:
    • Providing accurate factual information on today's social issues.
    • Publishing informed comment and analysis.
    • Bringing together leading protagonists in open discussion.
  • Work towards pragmatic solutions to current social problems.
  • Implement pioneering projects to demonstrate what can be accomplished.
  • Supply schools with teaching materials and guest speakers.

Civitas set up the Centre for Social Cohesion 2007.

Civitas research was drawn on heavily by Vote Leave in the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum.[2]

2. Policy Interests

The think tank describes itself as "classical liberal" and "non-partisan". However The Times and The Daily Telegraph have described it as a "right-of-centre think-tank".[3][4] Its director David G. Green writes occasionally in The Daily Telegraph and its deputy director Anastasia de Waal frequently contributes to The Guardian's "Comment is free" section.[5] Its areas of policy interest include:

  • Crime: Civitas authors have argued for more consistent crime policies that straddle the left-right divide, for earlier and pre-emptive interventions with prolific offenders and for crime statistics to be more digestibly and honestly presented. They have also advocated rehabilitating prisoners through drug programmes and vocational education.
  • Education: Civitas research seeks out an objective view of standards of education in Britain in order to offer an improved perspective on how best to deliver equitable and high standards of education for all. The particular aim is to generate evidence-based policy, with realisable strategies for implementation. It has called for a new inspectorate to replace Ofsted for free schools and academies, and The Times has described Civitas as an ally of former Education Secretary Michael Gove.[3]
  • Family: Its authors have examined the impact of social policy and changing social norms in families, looking in particular at family structure and the socioeconomic significance of marriage in the UK.
  • Health: Civitas authors have called for an end to the NHS's monopoly on public healthcare (in effect for greater privatisation of health service delivery) and greater diversity in the system with the purported aim of creating a more equitable system for all.
  • Immigration: Its authors have sought to analyse the pros and cons of mass immigration, including the costs for the public sector and downward pressure on low-paid jobs.[6] They claim that 'multiculturalism now means the co-existence in one land of rival and antagonistic ways of life'.[7]
  • Economic growth: The Wealth of Nations project was established to encourage a more balanced economy and especially to explore how best to stimulate manufacturing in order to foster a more resilient economy and to generate jobs across the ability range.
  • Welfare: Civitas believes people should 'keep their own earnings' and 'pay their own way'.[7]
  • Environment and climate: Civitas is opposed to green regulations, to legislation designed to reduce climate change, and to greater reliance on renewable energy.[8][9][10]

3. People

  • Director: David G. Green[2][11]
  • Deputy Director (Research): Anastasia de Waal
  • Editorial Director: Robert Whelan[1]
  • EU research fellow: Jonathan Lindsell (2016)[2]
  • Director, Civitas Schools: Justine Brian[12]
  • Trustees: Edward Magnus Shaw, Nigel Vinson, Baron Vinson, Alan Rudge[13][14]

4. Publications



  • Crime and Civil Society: Can we become a more law-abiding people? (2005) Dr David G. Green, Emma Grove and Nadia A. Martin
  • Crimes of the Community: Honour-based Violence in the UK (2007) James Brandon and Salam Hafez
  • The Public and the Police (2008) Harriet Sergeant


  • Corruption of the Curriculum (2007) Robert Whelan, ed., with an introduction by Frank Furedi[15]
  • The Butterfly Book: A Reading and Writing Course (2007) Irina Tyk
  • The Butterfly Grammar: A Course for Better English (2008) Irina Tyk and Ed Dovey
  • Inspecting the Inspectorate: Ofsted Under Scrutiny (2008) Anastasia de Waal
  • Liberal Education and the National Curriculum (2010) Prof. David Conway
  • What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know (2011) E. D. Hirsch, Jr. (ed.)


  • Second Thoughts on the Family (2008) Anastasia de Waal
  • Licensed to Hug: How child protection policies are poisoning the relationship between the generations and damaging the voluntary sector (2008) Frank Furedi and Jennie Bristow[16]
  • The Meaning of Matrimony: Debating Same-Sex Marriage (2013) Anastasia de Waal, ed, contributors include Brendan O’Neill, Peter Tatchell and Frank Furedi


  • Putting Patients Last (2009) Peter Davies, James Gubb and Donald R. Keogh
  • Quite Like Heaven? Options for the NHS in a Consumer Age (2007) Nick Seddon and Bernard Ribeiro

Immigration and Multiculturalism

  • Do We Need Mass Immigration? (2002) Anthony Browne
  • The ‘West’, Islam and Islamism: Is ideological Islam compatible with liberal democracy? (2003) Caroline Cox and John Marks
  • The Poverty of Multiculturalism (2005) Patrick West
  • A Nation of Immigrants? A brief demographic history of Britain (2007) Prof. David Conway
  • Disunited Kingdom (2009) Prof. David Conway
  • From Two Cultures To No Culture: C.P. Snow’s ‘Two Cultures’ Lecture Fifty Years On]] (2010) Frank Furedi, Roger Kimball, Raymond Tallis, Robert Whelan, dedicated to Claire Fox[17]

Environment and Climate

  • The Green Mirage: Why a low-carbon economy may be further off than we think[18] (2011) John Constable (Renewable Energy Foundation/Global Warming Policy Foundation)[9][19][20]


  • Nations Choose Prosperity: Why Britain needs an Industrial Policy (2009) Ruth Lea and David G. Green

5. Involvement in Schools

Civitas provides teaching materials and guest speakers for schools, in particular on family structure and on the EU.

The EU project publishes a series of free factsheets on the European Union, designed for use by A-level students.[21] Civitas also arranges speakers for talks and debates in schools on the subject of the EU.

Civitas runs supplementary schools on Saturday mornings and after school hours. The schools teach English and maths to children from disadvantaged backgrounds, emphasising traditional approaches such as phonics. There are now twenty supplementary schools in King's Cross, Hammersmith, Camberwell, Keighley, Birmingham, Great Yarmouth and Bradford providing classes for over 600 children per week.

Civitas is adapting the American Core Knowledge curriculum for the UK. It is a year-by-year outline of the specific and shared content and skills to be taught in Years 1 to 6. The first Core Knowledge book, What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know, aroused controversy over its message to minorities when released in 2011.[22] The books for Year 1 and Year 2 were published in 2012.[23]

6. Funding

Civitas has been rated as 'highly opaque' in its funding by Transparify[24] and has been a given a E grade for funding transparency by Who Funds You?.[25] Its funders include the pro-free market Nigel Vinson Charitable Trust.[26]

7. Controversies

In 2004, a Civitas report was criticised by Faisal Islam for its deceptive methodology on the costs of immigration.[6]

A 2005 report by Civitas finding Britain's police forces to be among the least effective in the developed world "provoked outrage... among chief constables and criminologists."[27] It was also criticised by the Police Foundation and the UK Home Office.[28]

A 2013 report by Civitas, written by the director of the pro-fossil fuel Renewable Energy Foundation, argued that a shift to renewables would mean “more people would be working for lower wages in the energy sector, energy costs would rise, the economy would stagnate, and there would be a significant decline in the standard of living”. The Government dismissed his report as “a manifesto for locking the British economy into excessive reliance on imported gas”.[9]


  1. "Profile of Civitas". 2009-12-08. 
  2. Wright, Oliver (2016-02-10). "The think-tanks carrying out 'independent' Brexit research have close links to Vote Leave". 
  3. "Gove allies say 'Sixties-mired' Ofsted should be scrapped". The Times (London). 24 January 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  4. Philip Johnston (7 April 2014). "A close encounter with the property boom". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  5. "Anastasia de Waal". 
  6. Islam, Faisal (2004-04-11). "Foreign workers: fact and fiction". 
  8. "Brexit Climate Deniers Launch Coordinated Attack Against Green Regulations Ahead of Election". 2017-05-01. 
  9. Bawden, Tom (2015-03-30). "Is Britain's leading private university a mouthpiece for the fossil fuel industry?". 
  10. "Jeremy Nicholson". 2019-07-26. 
  11. David Green biography at
  12. "Justine Brian – Battle of Ideas 2019". 
  13. "Charity Details". 
  14. "Alan Rudge". 2019-07-26. 
  18. "The Green Mirage". August 30, 2011. 
  19. "The £200 Billion Price Tag For Britain's Green Folly". May 17, 2013. 
  20. "John Constable Joins GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council | The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)". 
  21. "Archived copy". 
  22. English version of US fact bible for Year 1s hits the shops at the Times Educational Supplement
  23. "Core Knowledge UK: Educational Resources and Activities for Teachers, Home Educators, Parents and Grandparents to Help Children Excel in Primary School and Beyond". 
  24. "Round-Up of Transparify 2018 Ratings" (in en-US). 
  25. "Civitas | Who Funds You?" (in en). 
  26. "News-watch". 2019-07-26. 
  27. Bright, Martin (2005-01-02). "UK police 'among the world's worst'". 
  28. Dodd, Vikram (2005-01-03). "Experts deride report on crime and moral decline". 
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