Editorial: New arbiter is off on the right foot

The issues of depoliticisation of Government institutions and public relations, normally branded as an anathema to one another by the media, have become aligned this week. The Competition Commission, the new non-politically-affiliated arbiter which is to replace the Mergers and Monopolies Commission, is hunting for an independent PR agency as part of its bid to take the politics out of the policing of mergers.

The issues of depoliticisation of Government institutions and

public relations, normally branded as an anathema to one another by the

media, have become aligned this week. The Competition Commission, the

new non-politically-affiliated arbiter which is to replace the Mergers

and Monopolies Commission, is hunting for an independent PR agency as

part of its bid to take the politics out of the policing of mergers.



The Commission is not, as could quite naturally be expected, looking for

a public affairs specialist, or indeed an agency particularly known for

its political nous. Instead, it is looking to hire an astute generalist

with the skills required to convince the media and business alike of the

genuine transparency of the new body.



A new independent competition authority will need to be more than just a

renamed version of the present Monopolies and Mergers Commission. It

will need to set its own agenda as opposed to responding to ministerial

instructions. But equally important to the success of the body will be

the way in which it communicates this shift in responsibility, and the

way in which it builds business confidence in its authority as

arbiter.



Hiring communication expertise is seen as a necessary step in the

depoliticisation of competition policy and shows a refreshing

recognition that for a company or organisation to be considered

transparent it must learn how to establish channels of communications.



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