Quentin Bell said that during his time as CIPR chairman in the mid-1990s, he explored buying the PRCA to combine the two, while Ian Wright said 'we came within one vote of persuading the PRCA council to support a merger of the two organisations in 2001'.
It is understood that talks were held earlier this year about closer corporation between the bodies, but they broke down without workable agreements being reached. One reason for this is thought to be a perceived cultural difference that has developed between the two organisations.
Jane Wilson, CIPR CEO, said that 'one body could dilute what we both offer our members', but pointedly did not rule out a merger. She said: 'If our members wanted that to happen and they were making this decision from an informed position, then I'm always open to look at what is in the best interests of our members and the industry as a whole.'
Francis Ingham, PRCA chief executive, said that a merger 'certainly isn't on the cards any time soon', but noted: 'We're delighted to work with the CIPR where it is in the best interest of the industry.'