The institute, which is providing the secretarial and research back-up for the Commission on Social Justice, is planning to ask questions about Labour's performance as part of a wider review on the future of the Left in Europe.
The institute, a charity with an annual budget of pounds 500,000, will service the commission with secretarial and research staff for the next two years.
In spite of its independent status, the institute has strong links with Labour. Its chairwoman, Lady Blackstone, is a Labour peer, and its deputy director is Patricia Hewitt, a former Kinnock adviser.
Ms Hewitt said: 'From the first year of existence, we were in the business of doing quite detailed work in specific policy programmes where we thought the new government would need policy advice.
'What we are now doing is shifting the emphasis away from specific projects to much more general issues, such as what is the future of the Left in Europe? Social justice is part of that programme.'
Meanwhile, some of John Smith's Shadow Cabinet ministers are preparing to enter the fray about the future of the Labour Party in the new year.
There is a growing view within the Shadow Cabinet that the tax policies on which Labour fought the election are now dead and buried.
Labour remains committed to the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor.
However, some of Mr Smith's senior colleagues believe the various reviews which will start in the new year will have to seek ways of achieving it without alienating the voters.