PARN is the organisation for the professional body sector.

The Professional Associations Research Network (PARN) is a not-for-profit membership organisation for professional bodies, founded by Professor Andy Friedman in 1998.

Offering expertise, experience and perspective on key issues in the sector, PARN develops research, provide bespoke services, networking opportunities, events and training for the professional body sector. 

We aim to conduct research that determines and promotes best practice, equip professional bodies to deal with common challenges, raise the profile of issues related to the professional body sector, promote professional bodies’ contributions to society, and support professional bodies with bespoke consultancy in areas such as strategy, governance and CPD.

At PARN we specialise in the third sector and more specifically with professional bodies.

We truly value our members input and feedback, that's why all our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) have a steering group established from our membership network.

Benchmarking forms the core of PARN and our dedicated research team undertake independent projects as well as assisting our members in more specific topic areas through our Ask The Network Surveys.

PARN offers a range of services that support both new and developing professional bodies, as well as those that are well established but require external review for more specific matters and we also welcome service user charities.

The PARN Team

Please note that the entire PARN team work remotely. 

The best way to get in touch with PARN is via e-mail, you can contact our general mailing box via [email protected] and one of the team will be in touch.

 Andy Friedman

Andy is the CEO of PARN, which he founded in 1998 in Bristol. He is also Professor of Management and Economics in the Department of Management at the University of Bristol, where he has taught since 1974.

Andy is originally from Canada, but has lived in England since 1970.

Through PARN, Andy has carried out research projects and written books on continuing professional development, governance, member services, ethical codes and routes to membership. Andy has been widely published in academic journals, with over 400 citations of his work listed in the various citation indices.

Andy is available for comment regarding any of PARN's key research issues and how they relate to the professions and link to the professional body sector. Please get in touch if you are interested in finding out more about our research, analysis or to get an opinion from Andy directly.

Click here to email Andy

Robert Pitts

Robert Pitts joined PARN in early 2016 as Head of Services, and after four years has become Deputy CEO.

Robert started working in the third sector back in 1988 - as an Area Appeals Manager with NSPCC.   After nearly five years he was approached to head up and develop a new 'outward bound' charity, which supported children and young people living in inner cities. Robert then moved on to work with the National Trust.  Since that time he’s held a variety of director and CEO positions with organisations as diverse as Bristol Cancer Help Centre, Relate, Butterfly Conservation and SPAN.

Robert coordinates and develops all operational activity at PARN, including membership, events, communications and finance. He also brings his extensive experience of business and membership development to the team, as well as his knowledge of marketing and fundraising. We encourage our members and other stakeholders to contact Robert with requests and feedback on any of PARN’s services.

Click here to email Robert

Research Team

Natasha Afitska: Research Manager

Alex Witt: Senior Researcher and ATN Coordinator




Membership Team

Will Pritchard: Services Manager

Rhiannon Cooper: Membership and Comms Coordinator

Finance Department

Cary Bush: Finance Manager