APPC lends support to single lobbyists code

The lobbying industry took a significant step towards establishing a joint code of conduct on Tuesday (14 July) when the Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC), which represents the largest firms, came out in support of a single code.

The lobbying industry took a significant step towards establishing

a joint code of conduct on Tuesday (14 July) when the Association of

Professional Political Consultants (APPC), which represents the largest

firms, came out in support of a single code.



The move comes after allegations and current media interest in the

relationship between lobbyists and the Government.



The APPC has traditionally opposed running a joint code with the two PR

trade bodies, the IPR and PRCA. Currently, each body runs a different

code which they police themselves. APPC leaders, including its secretary

Charles Miller, have in the past seen the lobbying industry as distinct

from PR and therefore resisted closer links to the PR bodies.



However, the PRCA represents full service agencies like Hill and

Knowlton and Burson-Marsteller which run large lobbying operations and

are not members of the APPC.



At a meeting on Tuesday evening the APPC, for the first time, came out

in support of a joint code of conduct for lobbyists with the IPR, the

PRCA and the fledgling Scottish lobbyists association.



Michael Burrell, managing director of Westminster Strategy, who chaired

the meeting, said that if Parliament would not police the single code,

the industry bodies aimed to do so jointly.



Burrell said: ’We think it would be extremely desirable for all

consultancies involved in lobbying to be seen to be speaking with one

voice.’



The APPC asked that GJW and GPC, the two member firms against which

newspaper claims have been made, withdraw their membership pending an

investigation by the association’s professional practices committee into

the agencies’ respective responses to the allegations.



Support for parliamentary regulation of lobbyists was boosted this week

by Robert Sheldon, chairman of the House of Commons standards and

privileges committee, who spoke in favour of parliamentary regulation on

Radio 4’s Today programme.



Leader, p9.



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