Lobbying industry unites as new Public Affairs Board comes into force

The overwhelming majority of Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC) members who were not previously Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) members have joined in the wake of a merger between the bodies.

Yesterday, the new Public Affairs Board (PAB) came into force and will be led by chair Paul Bristow, who held the same role at the APPC.

Bristow also sits on the executive committee and will be joined by Lionel Zetter, who was the chair of the PRCA’s Public Affairs and Lobbying Group.

Of the 44 APPC members who were not previously with the PRCA, 41 (93 per cent) have joined the Public Affairs Board, including several members who were fiercely opposed to the merger, which indicates the lobbying industry is prepared to put its differences aside to create a unified voice.

The Public Affairs Board will represent 1,871 practitioners.

Bristow said the PAB’s immediate priority is to deliver on the commitments made in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and ensure a single, unified Code of Conduct is established.

"It’s also important that the recommendations of the APPC’s recent strategy review are given proper consideration by the executive committee," Bristow added. "This was not part of the MoU, but it’s something that many of the APPC’s former members have made clear to me that they’d like me to take forwards in my new role. I plan to discuss this with the Executive Committee to agree the appropriate next steps."

This will be discussed at the first Executive Committee meeting on Monday (5 November).

PRCA director general Francis Ingham said the public affairs industry has quickly got behind the new PAB.

"The vast majority of those who opposed the merger have decided to transfer their membership across from the APPC. This shows that the industry now wishes to make this merger work, and to make discord a thing of the past. Which is precisely what we shall do, starting today," he said.

"This is a defining moment for the public affairs industry. By creating one unified body, we will pursue our common goal of making the case for lobbying as a democratic necessity and as an ethical and professional practice more effectively than ever before."

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