Chaired by John Lehal, MD of Insight Public Affairs, the commission will address several terms of reference, including ‘opening up the industry to people from minority ethnic communities’ and the much debated issue of interns in the PR industry.
In its first meeting, scheduled for 7 March, commission members will finalise the key issues to be addressed before a final report is made public in mid-May. The commission is made up of 16 industry professionals including Lehal, PRCA chief executive Francis Ingham, The Red Consultancy CEO Mike Morgan, Ignite chair Bieneosa Ebite and PRWeek editor Danny Rogers. Also on the commission is Robert Minton-Taylor, the former chair of the CIPR’s Professional Practices Committee, who recently called on industry bodies to stamp out the ‘odious’ practice of unpaid internships (PRWeek, 11 February).
The issue of access to the PR industry was highlighted by a BBC documentary on social class and access to jobs on 2 February, which focused on the use of unpaid interns by leading fashion agency Modus Publicity.
More recently, Bell Pottinger was reported to be among a number of companies offering internships to well-off Conservative Party supporters. The Mail on Sunday revealed that a one-week internship at Bell Pottinger was auctioned for £2,000, promoting criticism from senior PR professionals.
Apart from internships, other key areas the commission is to explore include recruiting the best talent regardless of geography, allowing parents to continue working in the industry and looking at the challenges faced by disabled people.