Working with National Prison Radio and Inside Time

“Raising awareness of the PPO’s

investigative services

is imperative to ensure those

who can complain to us know

how to.”


Increasingly over the last few years, the PPO has forged closer working relationships with National Prison Radio (NPR), a radio station for people in prison, and Inside Time, the national newspaper for prisoners and detainees. We aim to maintain the confidence of our stakeholders in our role as an independent, fair investigative body, and we want to always increase our impact. Raising awareness of the PPO’s investigative services is imperative to ensuring those who can complain to us know how to. Partnering with as many prison media services as possible allows us to do this and enables us to be consistent and educate more people.

We have worked with NPR for the last three years and have produced many adverts which have been broadcast in over 110 prisons in England and Wales. Our adverts have consisted of short, sharp messaging which contains a simple call to action – for example, directing prisoners to our complaints materials for more information, or clearly stating our address so prisoners can write to us. We have also broadcast longer, more detailed adverts which have allowed us to talk listeners through the complaints process in a more detailed way. Having access to over 75,000 prisoners through NPR not only helps us raise awareness of our complaints investigations, but it also helps us reach new prisoners who may not know about who we are and what we do.

NPR have been a great partner for us to work with as they provide flexibility, reach and knowledge of the type and tone of content that will be most useful to listeners. We hope to continue working with them in the future. Tim Colman, Director of Development at NPR said: “National Prison Radio’s partnership with the PPO is one of our most important. Over the last three years, we have worked together to ensure that prisoners are more aware of their rights, and how they can receive support when they have been treated unfairly. We value the PPO as a key partner, and we hope that we can continue to develop creative, impactful, National Prison Radio content together for many years to come.”

Our Inside Time articles are featured in the paper, on their website and their app. Inside Time has an estimated monthly readership of 100,000, with roughly 55,000 papers printed each month and distributed to every prison in the UK[1]. The paper is read by prisoner’s families, anyone with an interest in prisons, those on probation and predominantly prisoners, and so we continue to partner with them to keep raising awareness of the PPO inside and outside of prisons. We have used the articles as an opportunity to talk prisoners through exactly how to complain to us step by step, what happens with their complaints once we receive them, and how we try to get fairer and more decent outcomes for prisoners.

We know that Inside Time is one of the most popular ways in which complainants have heard of us, so this is another partnership that we want to continue. Ben Leapman, Editor of Inside Time, said: “Our readers often have complaints about things that go wrong in prisons, so we are doing them a service by carrying articles which explain how the Ombudsman system works and how they can access it.”

We also plan to continue using other methods of raising awareness. We have written articles for Women in Prison’s magazine and we are grateful to Prison Reform Trust for also helping us connect with those who might want to complain to us. We hope that continuously raising awareness of the PPO helps prisoners understand our remit and how to contact us easily, but also instils a greater confidence in our work.

Author: Communications Officer

[1] As well as Immigration Removal Centres, secure units at hospitals, GeoAmey transport vans, some courts, and a few Approved Premises.