More than one in five public affairs practitioners did not vote in last general election

Public affairs professionals may work in the world of politics but that does not necessarily mean they participate in the democratic process, according to new research.

Low turnout: Eight per cent of public affairs professionals were not registered to vote in 2010
Low turnout: Eight per cent of public affairs professionals were not registered to vote in 2010

The study of 110 senior in-house public affairs people and parliamentary staff by Guide public affairs consultancy found that 22 per cent did not vote in the last election and eight per cent were not even registered to vote.

One third of respondents knew of someone in their team who was not registered to vote and 40 per cent knew someone in their team who did not vote in 2010.

Of those who are members of a party, 45 per cent only maintain their party membership to obtain reductions on their PCS passes. None of the organisations surveyed actively encourages their staff to register and vote, or give their staff time off to vote.

"This survey suggests a worrying level of apathy among people working in politics. In some ways it shows they are even more cynical than the general public. For example nearly half use party membership to get discounts on conferences, rather than engage in the political process," said Roisin Watson, associate director of GPA.

She added: "As an industry, we should be giving every support to people who want to vote – especially our colleagues. It would be great if people in the industry encouraged their colleagues to get engaged in the general election, by offering advice on registration and, if necessary, letting them take time off on polling day." 

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