UK government social scientist Barbara Adams OBE, a pioneer of public consultation research, has died in London at the age of 89.
Adams was born in Oldham in 1922, and after graduating from Manchester University in Social Administration, joined the wartime Mass Observation project. She later became a Planning Officer at the Ministry of Housing.
In 1960, she was appointed head of a research and development group called the Sociological Research Branch at the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, where she helped pioneer the new concept of face-to-face customer consultation through the implementation of residents' surveys and post-hoc evaluation.
In 1965, she conducted the first census of gypsies, with the results published in ‘Gypsies and Other Travellers’; and in 1970, when the Ministry of Housing became the Department of the Environment, Adams’ team in what was then the Social Research Division, became involved in studies into the private rented sector, families, single and elderly people, homelessness, and housing management.
After she retired in 1985, Adams was given an OBE. She lived in north London where she enjoyed the theatre, art history courses, and reading, while supporting charities such as Shelter and Liberty.