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
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.