The agency is setting up the division after winning a number of internationally focused clients.
Earlier this month, Portland scooped a brief with The Tutu Foundation UK, which has been set up to tackle violent gang culture by applying lessons learned by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa.
The agency will lobby decision-makers in the Home Office and the Department for Children, Schools and Families in an attempt to influence the Government’s approach to dealing with gang members.
Portland is also retained by the Russian government and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which works to promote good governance in Africa.
The new division, Portland International Affairs, will provide both political consultancy and media relations services to UK-based clients looking to execute complex international campaigns. It will also target international organisations seeking to reach UK audiences.
The division is being led by Toby Orr, who takes the title head of Portland International Affairs.
Orr was previously an account director at Portland and before that was a founding member of the consultancy Africa Practice.
He said: ‘The practice offers specialist communications support both for diplomatic missions and foreign companies looking to navigate the UK political and media environment, and for organisations wanting to roll out major international communications campaigns.’
Portland senior account manager Robert Watkinson is also moving across to the new division. A further six members of Portland’s public affairs team will be available to work with internationally focused clients.
Portland PR was established in 2001 by Tim Allan, a former deputy to ex-Downing Street comms director Alastair Campbell. It recently set up a new speechwriting division (PRWeek, 14 September).