BPPA chairman suggests agency will not disclose clients despite joining PRCA

Bell Pottinger Public Affairs chairman Peter Bingle has suggested that his agency will not disclose all of its clients, despite becoming a member of the PRCA.

Defiant: Peter Bingle
Defiant: Peter Bingle

As reported in this week's edition of PRWeek, Bingle's agency has agreed to join the PRCA, which requires all members to disclose their clients on a public register on a quarterly basis.

Along with a handful of other public affairs firms, Bell Pottinger Public Affairs has previously attracted criticism for failing to declare clients on a public register.

Bingle said: ‘We have always declared 99 per cent of our clients. We are happy that the exemptions the PRCA has are fair, for example exemptions when there could be a threat to a staff member if the client was declared; or if the client is a listed company and registering it as a client could contravene FSA rules.'

He added: ‘There will be very few exemptions for us.'

PRCA director-general Francis Ingham said: ‘BPPA will abide by the same transparency requirements met by all of our members practising public affairs - they will have the same right to invoke exemptions in circumstances that are already well-defined and tested.

‘We are thoroughly delighted to welcome BPPA into the PRCA. Many other Chime companies are already PRCA members, and I know that BPPA will receive a warm welcome. I take it as a vote of confidence in self-regulation, and indeed in the PRCA itself, that Tim and Peter have made this decision.'

Pushed on the issue of client disclosure, Ingham later added: ‘All our members can apply for exemptions, which are rare and considered case by case. They cover clients where disclosure is advised against by the police on grounds of personal security – for example, animal rights activists; advised against on grounds of national security; or would break the law – for example, on the advice of the FSA.'

Ingham stressed: ‘It doesn't allow you to not disclose someone just because they are embarrassing or controversial.'

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