Chief executive Frank Walker admitted the NLA itself was culpable for its tarnished image: 'It's often surprising to us how we're perceived and it's often our own fault. We have to understand better how to get our messages across.'
Walker conceded that the NLA was frequently perceived as aggressive in the way in which it approached companies, and said this had prompted a radical overhaul in its communications in the past 12 months.
'During the past year we've rewritten every piece of paper we produce, and reproduced our website, boiling everything down into a core that others can understand. Having got to the point where we feel we have repositioned ourselves internally, we now have to get our messages across externally,' he added.
Walker said the search for an agency is at the 'beauty parade' stage, adding that he hoped to stage a formal pitch within weeks.
As part of that, agencies have been requested to supply answers to past, present and future crisis management scenarios, with criticism expressed in PRWeek's letters page used to form one of the case studies.
Walker confirmed that potential agencies had been asked to provide a response to such criticism which centred on the lack of an impartial ombudsman to oversee the enforcement of licensing and the perceived 'anachronistic' nature of the body.
'The NLA has never taken our PR image into account. There may be something for us to learn,' he said.
He said the NLA had been discussing taking on PR help for the past six months.