Scupro rebuilds as campaigning body

The Society of County and Unitary Public Relations Officers

(Scupro) has transformed itself into a campaigning body.

It has also extended its membership, opening its doors for the first

time to non-unitary district councils.

The changes were met with unanimous support at the society's AGM, which

took place at its conference in Lincoln last week (28-30 March).

Under its new constitution, the society will lobby for a less

prescriptive code of conduct for local government PROs. The Department

for the Environment, Transport and the Regions is currently updating the


It will also seek to give advice to Audit Commission inspectors who

investigate communications teams as part of the 'best value' survey.

Best value is a government directive that says councils must give value

for money.

Scupro members will this month meet Wendy Thompson, who oversees

inspection of best value performance at the commission.

Newly-elected chair Julie Hollings, who is Isle of Wight Council head of

communications, said: 'With these changes, we are acknowledging that we

have an important role helping local authorities to communicate better

and gain a greater voice. For that, it makes a lot of sense to extend


Scupro's shift in direction foreshadows a name-change and different

branding during the next 12 months.

Hollings said this was vital if Scupro was to become an effective

campaigning force. 'Scupro is a fairly ghastly name,' she said.

The new constitution also formalises existing links with the IPR local

government group that help them work on projects of mutual concern.

When the executive committee of the society meets again in three months,

further changes will be on the agenda, including regional groups and a

review of subscriptions. Authorities currently pay only pounds 25 to

join the society.

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