APPC chief responds to ‘closed shop’ attack

The chair of the Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC) has ­insisted she is ‘open-minded’ about how agencies demonstrate their commitment to its guiding principles.

Morris: APPC chair
Morris: APPC chair

Gill Morris moved to ­defend the association following a recent complaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). DLA Piper Global Government Relations referred the association to the OFT earlier this month, claiming that the trade body was trying to force government agencies to work exclusively with its members.

In a letter, it argued that the APPC was in breach of the 1988 Competition Act. The complaint has been backed by the Law ­Society.

DLA Piper’s lobbying practice is the largest housed within a law firm. It claims that Law Society regulations prevent it from joining the APPC.

But Morrris insisted: ‘We do not seek to prevent any organisation from working with government.’ She added: ‘We also believe that, in addition to the guiding ­principles, organisations interacting with government should follow more detailed codes of conduct appropriate for their sector… The APPC Code of Conduct ­provides one such model.

‘We remain open-minded about how other organisations demonstrate their full compliance with the guiding principles.’

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