IPR calls for legislation in wake of Phillis report

The Institute of Public Relations is demanding legislation to stop special advisers instructing government PROs.

Director-general Colin Farrington has issued the demand following the release earlier this week of the Phillis report into government communications. While backing a key recommendation to restrict the power and scope of special advisers, he said it needed to be backed up by firm legislation in order to safeguard the integrity of PROs.

Farrington said: ‘A Civil Service Act is required to win back public trust through open and honest communications. Specifically, the Government needs to make it absolutely clear that no civil servant should be directly instructed by a special adviser.’

Guardian Media Group CEO Bob Phillis’s report is critical of the structure of the Government Information and Communications Service (GICS).

It has recommended that GICS is restructured and led by a newly created post of permanent secretary – government communications, which has already been accepted by the Government.

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