top of page

Would you take advice from Abraham Lincoln?

Charlotte Phillips, Director of Communications

Friday 18 March 2016

“Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth." “In a hair salon with two hairdressers, choose the one with the worst haircut.” And the only US President with a statue in Parliament Square, Abraham Lincoln, said: “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe”.

We think these are all bits of good advice.

Anyone who has ever needed a lawyer knows the importance of getting good advice.

When you are up against it and the chips are down a good lawyer will take the strain, give good advice and basically make sure that you come out unscathed.

Choosing the right expert


Would you use a divorce lawyer to get you out of an HR pickle? No. Would you use a human rights lawyer to sort out a conveyancing glitch? No.

Well not if you a) want to spend your money wisely or b) get the best possible outcome.


People that know their subject matter, that understand the landscape, the politics, the framework in which they exist – that’s what you really need.

And so, analogy now made, the same goes for getting the best possible communications advice.

A client needs to have people who completely ‘get’ the world in which they exist.

Communications advisers who not only know how to deal with the inevitable issues and pitfalls but an agency that can spot them at a thousand paces and put in place a plan to deal with them before anyone else has finished their morning coffee.

The sorts of public relations specialisms that exist are many and varied.

Criminal justice system specialists


Friends of mine specialise in anything from doing the PR for upmarket kitchens to dealing with a well known pizza delivery company’s frequent disasters when it comes to delivering rodent like matter on a non-vegetarian pizza.

I challenge anyone to give me a specialist agency who has the knowledge and expertise that Crest do when it comes to the criminal justice system – and not just the obvious bits (although we do those rather well) – but aside from policing, Crest Advisory has an unrivalled level of expertise about all those tangential bits of the system that more often than not exist right in the public eye – youth justice, probation, prisons, the courts, offender management and rehabilitation.

Between us we have handled, advised on, been involved in or reported on the largest and most controversial criminal cases, inquiries, inquests, or organisations in the last 10 years. Managing crisis comms in the aftermath of 7/7 – check, independent investigations into fatal police shootings and subsequent inquests – check, prepping Ministers and Chairs for hostile Select Committees  – check, running the communications department for the largest victims charity in the UK – check, managing the entire communications output for the most significant public Inquiry in decades – check.

Effective communication when it matters


It may jar, slightly, to use such sensitive cases as credentials, but anyone who has ever been involved in an Inquiry, a court case or an investigation dealing in tragedy or controversy of this nature will tell you that this is exactly the time you need the best possible advice.

I recently had the privilege to work with someone who has lived through the very worst of these examples and is himself a victim who has been through the criminal justice system. I had to arrange a meeting with a fairly heavyweight reporter who wanted to ‘tell his story’. After the reporter had left the man turned round to me and said, “Charlotte, you just asked all the right questions. I now feel like I know what is going on”.

Asking the right questions, understanding what the media and stakeholders want – giving clients the soundest advice in the best and worst of circumstances – that is what we take great pride in getting right.

Ask us to help boost sales of washing powder or manage the PR for a pizza company?

No thanks.


The UK's only consultancy dedicated to crime and justice.

bottom of page