APPC and PRCA publish proposed Public Affairs Code of Conduct to provide clarity on proposed merger

The Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC) and the Public Relations and Communications Associations (PRCA) have today published their single proposed Public Affairs Code for the industry along with a raft of other documents aimed at providing clarity and transparency on the proposed merger.

The Public Affairs Code – and its independent Complaints, Determination, and Disciplinary Rules and Procedures – will apply to all members of the merged organisation, the Public Affairs Board.

Near-identical to the current APPC Code, the proposed changes are limited to the following areas: references to “the APPC” will become references to “the Public Affairs Board”; references to “the APPC Management Committee” will become references to “the Public Affairs Board Executive Committee”;  references to “political consultants” will become references to “public affairs practitioners”; and a rewording of the remit to ensure the Code is not limited to UK-based institutions of government. The process for investigation complaints and the mechanism for taking appropriate disciplinary action remain independent and unaltered.

The PRCA has also published proposed changes to its Memorandum and Articles of Association in light of the APPC-PRCA Memorandum of Understanding. Necessary changes include: a clause automatically making the Chair of the Public Affairs Board a member and officer of the PRCA Board and amendments to guarantee that changes to the Public Affairs Code can only be made with the majority support of both the Public Affairs Board Executive Committee and the PRCA Board. The proposed technical amendments to the PRCA Professional Charter and Codes of Conduct – taking into account the future Public Affairs Code – were also published today.

Alongside this, Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, has signed the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations, ensuring that no changes can be made to the terms of merger before or after APPC members vote at their extraordinary general meeting in October.

Paul Bristow MPRCA, Chair, APPC, said: “Members deserve nothing less than thorough detail: the APPC is heading into this merger from a position of strength, and this new Public Affairs Code protects and promotes the gold standard in public affairs while enshrining the independent complaints process. Members will be reassured that the current APPC Code is the basis for this unified code.”

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said: “Today, we are publishing the final pieces of detail, showing precisely how the new Public Affairs Board that would be created by an APPC-PRCA merger would work. 

“Three separate documents set out: the new unified Code; the new unified disciplinary procedures; and the formal changes to the PRCA Memorandum and Articles of Association that lock in the new Code, the new disciplinary process, and the autonomy and status of the Public Affairs Board. In addition, I have also signed the MoU on behalf of the PRCA Board. 

“In doing so, our aim is to leave nobody in any doubt about what they are voting for. This detail is set in stone -unamendable by the PRCA. It is now for APPC members to vote on merger from a position of absolute certainty on the shape and governance of the new body they are being asked to create alongside us.”

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