Industry responds positively to CIPR appeal for payment break

Vuelio said it will pause payments from struggling clients, while Cision said it is looking at ways to support clients during the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) letter to PR suppliers requesting flexibility on payment schemes has received a positive response.

The industry body wrote to Kantar, Cision and Vuelio asking for a three-month deferral scheme for small businesses and freelancers who are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19.

It explained: “Having flexibility during these uncertain times will make a difference to a business surviving or failing.

"A deferral scheme would reduce some financial burden and give some breathing space to those who are trying to rebuild their client base.”

The move follows a decision taken by the CIPR last month to allow its members to request a three-month membership payment break.

CIPR president Jenni Field said: "This letter is not intended to 'call out' any particular organisation or dismiss the importance of the services these organisations provide.

“Part of our mission is to support our members and, at this particular time, many of our members are desperate for help.”

Vuelio confirmed it will pause any subscription for three months held by a customer who is working freelance and contacts the company to confirm they are eligible for the government COVID-19 relief scheme. It will review claims on a case-by-case basis.

Joanna Arnold, chief executive of Access Intelligence, including Vuelio, Pulsar and ResponseSource, said: “We share with the CIPR concern for the effect that COVID-19 is having on our industry. These are exceptional times but by the industry working together, we believe we can make a positive impact and contribute to securing our future."

Cision UK managing director Tom Ritchie said the organisation has been working closely with clients who are struggling.

“We will continue to monitor the crisis, and evaluate the ways we can best support our clients as the situation unfolds," Ritchie said.

Kantar had not responded to the CIPR at the time of writing.

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