The IPRN (International Public Relations Network) has launched a recruitment drive for members in the fields of IT, healthcare and investor relations.
The network, established in 1995 to provide a low-cost international information network for independent agencies, consists of 32 agencies in total. These vary in size from two to 72 people, and 28 countries are represented.
This year's annual meeting in Cleveland in May revealed a need to extend IPRN's agency coverage, says Nexus Choat chairman Jonathan Choat.
'We have to fill gaps in the areas we have targeted and we have formed a group to ensure that we recruit more people worldwide with those particular skills.'
The recruitment drive follows aggressive buying of independent agencies by major players in the IT, health and financial sectors.
'The sizeable agencies working in these areas have already been bought up,' explains Choat. 'In some areas, it is difficult to find agencies with more than 12 people.'
Agencies wishing to join the network need to have been in business for at least five years with good financial records. Typically, they require recommendations from at least two existing IPRN members. In cases where such records are not available, the IPRN can conduct its own checks with trade and consumer press and via references from clients.
To date, members of the IPRN have agreed to exchange information on case histories, assessment methods, pre-planning strategies and presentation methods.
Membership does not oblige agencies to use their counterparts in other parts of the world, but allows for the selection of agencies either within the network or outside it.