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Would you like pro-bono help with your communications?

Penelope Gibbs
12 Feb 2019

Reframing consultancy support

Transform Justice is offering pro bono communications coaching and support to six organisations in the criminal justice voluntary sector.

This tailored support will help organisations increase their impact by embedding reframed messaging into their approach to communications.

About the support

This is an exciting opportunity for organisations to review and refine their approach to communicating their cause to a range of stakeholders to inspire support for the organisation’s objectives.

Successful organisations will benefit from one-to-one support from a strategic communications expert who will work with staff, trustees and service user ambassadors (where relevant) to understand the organisation’s communications approach and embed reframed messaging into their work. Support will be tailored to the organisation and may include training, advice and coaching with staff members in each organisation.

The consultancy support will begin for each organisation some time April-September 2019 once the successful organisations have been selected, and run for 6-9 months. Transform Justice will also facilitate peer group support for the six organisations engaged in the programme, through regular meetings to share learning and discuss challenges.

The support will draw on findings about what works in terms of communicating about justice reform from research conducted by the Frameworks Institute in 2016 on behalf of Transform Justice, the Criminal Justice Alliance, Clinks and the Standing Committee for Youth Justice.

What is reframing?

Reframing provides a radically new approach to communicating about the need for reform in the criminal justice system, allowing us to shift the debate on criminal justice in favour of more effective and less punitive policies.

This project builds on previous reframing research which found that people’s reactions to communications about criminal justice are guided by a set of strong beliefs about why people commit crime and how to reduce crime, including:

  • People make a rational premeditated choice to commit crime
  • They believe crime can be reduced through strong punishment since this acts as a deterrent
  • That only bad people commit crime
  • Fatalism, that nothing can reduce crime, is a strongly held belief

These beliefs affect everyone, are deep seated, strong, and sometimes contradictory. We are unlikely to fundamentally change people’s beliefs, but we can increase their appetite for progressive reforms by triggering some beliefs and avoiding engaging with others.

Too much of our existing communications trigger these counter-productive beliefs and therefore is not having the desired effect. Reframing presents alternative positive values – for example national progress, pragmatism and human potential – which are proven to work well in engaging people to care about criminal justice.

Feedback from voluntary sector organisations on reframing:

  • “Most memorable learning was how to frame communications in such a way that doesn’t set out one view point as ‘right’ and one as ‘wrong’. This was useful as it’s an easy trap to fall into and immediately alienates audiences”
  • “The fact that current widely used messages are making things worse when it comes to public opinion.”
  • “That some of our very well intended communication could actually ‘depress’ the value of the message and be counterproductive.”

Reframing has the potential to significantly build the capacity of the voluntary sector to communicate effectively and thus achieve the change in narrative which is urgently needed. It ensures that the messages put across will have the greatest likelihood of being heard and understood, leading to progressive policy change and making it easier to engage with people on the need for rehabilitation.


The consultancy offer is open to any not-for-profit organisation working partly or entirely on criminal justice services/issues in England and Wales.

The application must be supported by senior staff and the board of the organisation.

How to apply

To apply for this consultancy support, please complete the online application form : apply here and send to [email protected] before Friday 15 March.

Online application form:

If you would like further information about the project and what the support will entail, or if you would like a Word version of the application form, please email [email protected]

Depending on the number of applications, Transform Justice may conduct a phone/skype/in-person interview with shortlisted organisations as part of the decision-making process.

Information shared by organisations during the application process and throughout the project will be kept confidential.