Think tanks and policy research

Area of training

Report writing


In-person training and one-to-one follow-up coaching



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Turning complex information into impactful research reports at CFE

Non-profit research organisation CFE reports on social and economic policy in the UK, acting as a link between policy-makers and those the policy affects.

The challenge

CFE work with complex issues and they knew they needed to express ‘dry’ topics in a way that would capture the imagination and attention of the reader. But their high-achieving graduate staff were tending to write in an academic style that relied heavily on the passive voice. The reports they were producing were too long and didn’t have a clear message – which meant senior managers were spending too much time editing them.

As Joint Managing Director James Kewin put it: ‘Research is an unforgiving area. You can have the best research that asks all the right questions and feel that the work is fantastic, but if your reports don’t work, then it’s all been for nothing.’

The solution

Bespoke in-person report-writing training helped all 45 members of staff develop a lucid style, providing tools for achieving reader-focused, impactful writing, including effective structure and using the active voice.

The team had one-to-one coaching sessions to ensure they were applying their new knowledge. And the trainer also worked with CFE to develop a house style.

The results

CFE now has a consistent voice. The coaching showed that the quality of reports had improved and – crucially – that staff now feel confident they are writing effectively. By taking a consultative approach rather than prescribing hard-and-fast rules, the training helped CFE settle on their own style.

‘One thing that sets us apart from our competitors is that we articulate complex issues in a straightforward way. Instead of using an academic style, our reports are accessible,’ says James. ‘We would be nowhere if we didn’t have high-quality written output, because our reputation is based on quality.’

‘One thing that sets us apart from our competitors is that now we articulate complex issues in a straightforward way.’

James Kewin, Joint Managing Director, CFE

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