Consulting and Advice

Chelgate advises leaders and senior managers on their handling of acute or crisis situations. Our clients are extremely diverse, and have included schools, care homes, blue chip companies, fine art dealerships, landed estates, governments and government agencies, and globally-recognised charities.

How we advise

Chelgate typically advises the senior management of a client, be it a company, a charity, or another form of organisation. This is because our service extends far beyond the boundaries of regular PR advice. We do not simply advise clients how to speak or write. We are hired by clients who value the advice we give about all aspects of their behaviour that contribute to their public image or relationships. Consequently, our conversations typically range far and wide, and properly concern those with ultimate responsibility for the way an organisation is managed.

Generally, our relationships are long-lasting – sometimes over decades – and we, like our clients, place a very high value on discretion. Illegal activities excepted, the candid discussions held in Chelgate’s meeting rooms or in our clients’ offices will, if the client wishes, remain permanently private, shared only with the individuals present.

Depending on the intensity of the acute issue or crisis, our meetings can be regular, infrequent or intensive and constant over a given period of heavy demand. We expect to work unusual hours for our clients, in recognition of the fact that crises rarely strike or develop only during convenient working hours.

No typical crisis

There is no typical crisis, but the crises or acute issues that Chelgate manages most often include the following.

Safeguarding or lapses in duty of care

Clients with children or patients in their care sometimes make mistakes, or fail in their duties of care. We insist that our clients admit their errors honestly, and we firmly believe that honesty – which protects trust – makes good business sense. On occasion, false allegations are made against our clients, and these need to be rebutted convincingly to protect the client’s reputation from wrongful harm.

Legal challenges

Many of our clients are facing litigation from their own clients, trading partners, staff or others. We work with lawyers, and can recommend highly skilled lawyers, in fields ranging from employment law to education to defamation. We understand how on-going court cases affect what can and cannot be said under law, and help our clients understand how to manage their reputation both during and after a legal struggle – even if a case leads to legal exoneration, the reputation damage can be far-reaching, and must be repaired skilfully over a longer period of time.

Read more about our work with lawyers

Improper conduct

We regularly handle cases arising from staff misconduct. Whether a finance director has emptied a company bank account into his own Swiss account or a charity’s chief executive has acted without regard for rules or the law, we stand ready to advise companies, charities and other bodies recovering from the poor decisions of their colleagues or former leaders.

Acts of God

From a building collapse to the blameless death of a key member of staff, unfortunate or natural accidents – for which nobody, sometimes, is responsible – can negatively affect an organisation’s reputation, sometimes devastatingly. Responding to loss of life or injury requires extreme corporate sensitivity, proper management of media interest, and respectful treatment of grieving families, colleagues and friends. Many organisations, concerned that expressions of sympathy or of sorrow can incur legal and financial liability, handle such situations clumsily, sometimes creating upset and unnecessarily harming relationships with employees or others.


Over the 25 years’ of experienced gained since we were founded, we have advised clients on an enormous range of crises, ranging from the mundane to the extraordinary. To speak to us about your particular situation, please call or email us during office hours, or phone our crisis line at any time if your situation requires urgent advice.