John Milik, Communications Analyst
Friday 10 November 2023
After nearly a decade supporting public inquiries, there’s one lesson we’ve definitely learned: each one is unique, arising in its own particular circumstances and facing its own distinct blend of opportunity and challenge.
Last week, our inquiries practice supported the public launch of the Lampard Inquiry. It’s a first in several ways. It’s England’s first statutory inquiry into mental health care, with full powers to compel witnesses to give evidence under oath. It’s also the first time we’ve supported the change in status of an inquiry from non-statutory to statutory.
We’ve helped to launch numerous other inquiries, including the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the Manchester Arena Inquiry and the UK Covid 19 Inquiry. But this time we were, effectively, working on a re-launch of the Essex Mental Health Independent Inquiry (there’s more information about this in some news coverage our communications team secured) which raised several issues for us to consider.
We were aware of the need to retain the trust and confidence of the families who had engaged with EHMII previously, and to reach out to all those whose experiences may fall into the Lampard Inquiry’s terms of reference. We wanted to demonstrate the commitment to independence and transparency of the Chair Baroness Lampard. And we wanted to show everybody interested in its work that the new inquiry recognised the sensitivity of the subject matter – deaths in mental health care over a 20 year period in Essex.
These were the goals we set ourselves when we sat down with our partners Add10 to discuss how to build a new brand to support the Inquiry’s mission. We knew to achieve this we needed a brand that was accessible, independent, serious and professional, giving people assurance that they would be listened to and the Inquiry’s investigations would be comprehensive and robust. And we recognised we needed to reflect the new direction and status of the Inquiry but crucially retained a sense of continuity with EHMII. And because the Inquiry is independent and impartial, we needed to differentiate it from one of the most powerful brands out there: the NHS.
With Add10, we built a new, simple brand around the original colours of EMHII, but adding a more comprehensive secondary colour palette to aid navigation and added a new logo and accessible fonts. In addition to the brand development we also designed and developed a user-friendly Wordpress website, creating a new domain name, and ensuring that its functionality supports the requirement for the Inquiry to transparently share information about its decisions, hearings and evidence.
Finally, we applied the new brand to key assets and collateral for launch including banners and consultation documents for families and others whose views matter to the Inquiry, and made sure it was visible and accessible during a media briefing with the Chair we facilitated. This event was to announce the public consultation on the Inquiry’s terms of reference (more info here). Drawing on our recent training on trauma-informed approaches to communication, we ensured families who wanted to talk to the media were prepared and supported, and secured coverage from the BBC, ITV, The i and Health Service Journal.
We’re grateful to our partners at Add10 for their creative input and proud to continue to be working with the Lampard Inquiry on its important work. There’s more information on how we help public inquiries to establish themselves, build trust and confidence and deliver their terms of reference at https://www.crestadvisory.com/inquiries