The role of PROs within local government is in danger of being compromised if changes are not made to the draft version of the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity.
A major problem concerns the split between executive and scrutiny introduced in the Local Government Act 2000 to create more accountable and credible local governance.
However, the change has left PROs on highly political, mainly urban, councils exposed to manipulation by factions seeking to attack the council leadership for political gain.
Another problem is that while the PRO's previous role was to ensure the council had a clear corporate brand within the community, this role is not in the current draft. The guidelines have PROs up in arms that it will undermine their credibility and doesn't support professionalism.
The intention was to make local government more effective but if this code of conduct is not right, the potential is to create even more politics.