The nation’s independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, also known as the Goddard Inquiry after Chair Justice Lowell Goddard, has appointed a communications agency to oversee certain aspects of its work.
Crest Advisory, which is run by Gavin Lockhart-Mirams, a former adviser to David Cameron, has been tasked with delivering a public awareness campaign to encourage victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to come forward and share their story. The contract runs for nine months.
We haven’t yet had a chance to see if there is available information on which agencies if any are currently running the Inquiry’s social media platforms, which to date has implemented a no engagement policy with the public – a move which sits completely at odds with the purpose of social media and PR generally – but we hope Crest Advisory will take a more progressive approach.
Management consultant Lockhart, comes to the Inquiry from the criminal justice sector, where he put together the current reform programme being used to revamp the system. After resigning from government in 2011 (there is no indication online as to why he resigned), he set up Crest Advisory.
Lockhart worked for the neoconservative think-tank Policy Exchange as Head of the Crime and Justice Unit from August 2006 to 2009 and then worked as Criminal Justice and Health Policy Adviser in the Conservative Policy Unit. He is also the author of the Reform Report, which looked at G4S and Serco failures over electronic tagging roll out for offenders.
It’s not clear yet what a conservative leaning management consultant operating a campaign drive to encourage survivors to come forward might look like, but there have been suspicions over Lockhart’s motivations in the past, most notably the suggestion that Lockhart developed policy on Police and Crime Commissioners so that he could eventually profit commercially from the provisions.
Good luck, Crest, the child welfare sector is much tougher than it looks.