The all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on Refugees was working on a report examining the barriers faced by refugees, and in particular newly recognised refugees, to integrating in the UK. IMiX was asked by Refugee Council, which provides the secretariat for the APPG, to lead on the media element of the report’s launch.
The report made a number of recommendations about how policy changes could improve refugees’ chances of integrating successfully in society following a positive decision about their refugee status.
The report’s launch was scheduled for early April 2017. A couple of weeks before, Theresa May unexpectedly called a snap general election.
The report’s publication received widespread coverage in the national media, despite fears that the election-dominated news agenda would mean that the report would be drowned out.
- Coverage on BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme;
- An op-ed on the day of the launch in the Times Red Box, co-authored by the APPG’s co-chairs, Thangam Debbonaire MP and David Burrowes MP;
- News coverage in a range of national print and online titles including the Guardian, the Times, the Independent and HuffPost.
- Widespread statements of public support from other organisations working on refugee protection.
How we did it
Working with Refugee Council, IMiX identified the best news angle to focus on – something that would be interesting to news editors and which would fit with the APPG’s objectives. In this case, it was the focus on a ‘two-tier’ system of refugee support which condemned many newly recognised refugees to homelessness and destitution from the moment of their positive decision, while providing much more comprehensive support to refugees who arrive in the UK through resettlement.
IMiX drew up a comprehensive media plan – including print, online, broadcast, and sector liaison – and detailed what collateral it would produce by when, for the APPG to sign off.
In the days leading up to the launch date, IMiX distributed the press release under embargo to targeted media contacts. We worked with the APPG’s spokespeople – its two co-chairs – to develop messaging and lines to take. We drafted and placed a joint op-ed in the Times Red Box, an outlet widely read by senior policy-makers.
In addition, we worked closely with other refugee sector partners to create an ‘echo chamber’ on the day of the report’s launch, projecting an impression that it was an important moment to news editors and amplifying the reach of the report.