The Public Relations Consultants Association has updated its Public Affairs Code of Conduct and has announced it will be refocusing its efforts on voluntary regulation and registration after the Queen’s Speech failed to include a register bill.
Following her speech last week, the CIPR, PRCA and APPC issued a joint statement describing the decision to halt plans to introduce a lobbying registers as “incredibly disappointing” with PRCA director general Francis Ingham saying that the industry “desires – not fears transparency.”
As such, the PRCA has confirmed it is in the process of preparing an improved Public Affairs Code of Conduct in consultation with the PRCA’s Public Affairs Group.
The new code has been anchored by the definition of lobbying; which the PRCA has agreed with the APPC and the CIPR as a suitable definition for the statutory register of lobbyists.
The new Code of Conduct will aim to ensure all lobbyists are regulated, be they agency, in-house or individuals.
The PRCA has said it is “refocusing its efforts on voluntary regulation and registration due to the government’s continued inaction on a statutory register of lobbyists,” but is ready to engage with the government on its proposals if and when it reintroduces them.
As part of the plans, all lobbying members will have to sign the updated version when joining the association, and current members of the PRCA’s Register will have to sign it annually.
Once completed, the code will be approved by the PRCA Professional Practices Committee.
Francis Ingham, PRCA director general, said: “The industry desires transparency and accountability and we have waited patiently for the government’s register, with no reward.
“In its absence we already have a register that covers consultancies, in-house teams - including charities and trade bodies - and individual practitioners that we must now concentrate on instead.
“Our members stand out as ethical and transparent communicators by joining our register and being regulated by our Code of Conduct. I strongly urge Parliamentarians and clients to look for this kitemark of transparent lobbyists.”