APPC to speed up complaints process

The Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC) is planning to overhaul the way it deals with agencies that are accused of wrongdoing.

APPC board members will meet this month to decide how to speed up the complaints process. It is understood there is concern that agencies which breach the code of conduct are not being dealt with quickly enough.

In particular, the APPC is yet to take any action against the lobbying firm Morgan Allen Moore. Agency chairman Steve Morgan stands accused of breaching the APPC code while working on Peter Hain's Labour deputy leadership campaign in 2007. Morgan was first accused more than five months ago (PRWeek, 24 January)

At present, the APPC responds to complaints by convening its Professional Practice Panel, which can take some time as there are no permanent members. An insider said the APPC also intends to have an independent adjudicator permanently on call.

Morgan Allen Moore strongly denies any wrongdoing. The complaint against Morgan was lodged by an individual called James Davenport, who is believed to be a former employee and a staunch Conservative. Davenport's complaint triggered an APPC investigation that has been put on hold as Morgan Allen Moore is taking legal action against Davenport.

Further claims about Morgan Allen Moore's conduct have been made on the well-known Guido Fawkes blog. Agency director Richard Moore said: 'The problem with unregulated bloggers is they are untouchable.'

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