Those campaigning to expand the PRCA’s membership are feeling a
little miffed. They tell me that in early spring both Bell Pottinger
Communications and the London operations of Weber PR Worldwide made
positive noises about joining.
However, according to PRCA executive director Chris McDowall, both firms
have now gone very quiet.
One disgruntled campaigner suggests that enquiries about membership, at
least on Bell Pottinger’s part, may not have been entirely selfless.
Bell Pottinger’s interest in joining followed announcements from the
Central Office of Information and the Audit Commission that they were
looking to roster or hire PR agencies, and that applicants with PRCA
membership would be more favourably considered.
Bell Pottinger Financial has been in membership for a number of years,
but Sir Tim Bell is adamant that any plans to sign up the rest of the
group have now been shelved.
’We’ve had a perfectly good relationship with the PRCA but I have no
current plans for changing that relationship,’ says Bell. Bell Pottinger
isn’t on the COI roster and the Audit Commission appointed Citigate
Westminster and Lawson Lucas Mendelsohn.
Weber is understood to have put PRCA membership on hold until other
negotiations are finished. Parent company, Interpublic, is reported to
be in talks with Shandwick parent International PR, already a PRCA
member. No point in paying two sets of membership fees.