Public Affairs: Soap Box - Michael Burrell, APPC

Michael Burrell, vice-chair, public affairs, Europe, APCO; chair, APPC.

This year will be a crucial one for public affairs consultancies as we seek to press home our argument that the Government's proposed statutory register will be of very limited value if it only covers people such as us.

If the coalition is serious about its objective of securing greater transparency, it must understand that this can only be achieved through a register that covers all those who lobby on a professional basis. That includes law firms, management consultancies, trade unions, charities and in-house practitioners.

At the APPC, we have been operating a register similar to that now being proposed for more than a decade, so we are confident that it can be done at reasonable cost. As implementation of a statutory register comes closer, the time is right to begin a debate among our 70 member firms about the APPC's future, and I will be encouraging that.

There is another challenge. We have great input from senior practitioners at the top of our consultancies. Equally, our lively training sessions and Young Consultants' Committee have encouraged younger colleagues to get involved. But I am concerned that we have a 'silent majority' of mid-level practitioners, who are hardly engaged.

I would really appreciate ideas on how best to tackle that issue.

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