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Aligning a pro social security drumbeat

This project is coordinated by Dr Michael Orton and strategic communications specialist, Nicky Hawkins.

The project involves a wide range of third sector organisations including those shown below.

The aim is to create a ‘drumbeat’ on the value of the social security system and the need to improve it, contrary to negative discourse which has been predominant over a long period.

More immediately, it is about enabling a diverse range of organisations to get behind and repeat powerful, succinct, core ideas thereby increasing the salience of the social security system, and the priority attached to it.

The project has six core elements.

1. Produce a messaging toolkit for organisations to use.

2. Develop aligned responses to push back points.

3. Draw in more organisations.

4. Coordinate the drumbeat.

5. Explore commonalities on policy asks.

6. Learning and support.

The outline messaging guide is available here.


Related work by Nicky Hawkins includes:

Talking about social security effectively 

How do young people think about social security


Related work by Michael Orton includes:

Orton, M. (2023) Affordable, simple, popular: updating our social security system.

Orton, M. and Sarkar, S. (2023) 'Covid-19 and (mis)understanding public attitudes to social security: re-setting debate' Critical Social Policy (43)1: 3-28.

Morrison, E., Morris, R. and Orton, M. (2022) Commission on Social Security: the Project Report.

Orton, M., Summers, K. and Morris, R. (2022) 'Guiding principles for social security policy: outcomes from a bottom-up approach' Social Policy & Administration 56(3): 485-501.

The Plan for a decent social security system (2022)

Orton, M. (2019) 'Challenges for anti-poverty action: developing approaches that are solutions focused, participative and collaborative' Journal of Poverty and Social Justice 27(1): 131-136.

Batty, S. and Orton, M. (2018) ‘An agenda for fixing the social security/welfare benefits systemJournal of Poverty and Social Justice 26(2): 291-295.

For any queries about the project please email

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IER Project Team:

Michael Orton

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Project Duration:

January 2024 - December 2024