The CIPR introduced the category after entries increased 'significantly', said CIPR marketing manager Jessica Molloy.
The total number of entries has risen nearly ten per cent on last year to 542, with 106 shortlisted. Practitioners from associated industries such as advertising and marketing will now judge the finalists.
Four agencies shortlisted for last year's 'outstanding achievement by a PR consultancy' award are again on the shortlist: last year's winner was Blue Rubicon; runners-up were Brands2Life, Lansons and The Ideas Network.
Last year's 'outstanding achievement by a small consultancy' winner, The Bottom Line, is again on the shortlist.
The London Borough of Greenwich's 'Jamie's School Dinners' campaign appears in two categories: best public sector campaign and best use of media relations.
There are 20 categories, 14 of them for campaigns and six special awards.
Winners will be announced on 6 July at a dinner at the London Hilton, Park Lane. The evening will be hosted by former MP and TV personality Gyles Brandreth. The awards are in their sixth year.
CIPR director-general Colin Farrington said: 'These awards are about raising standards in the industry by rewarding the best in PR practice across the UK.'