PR Professionals defend the value of PR after criticism of London Mayor’s comms spend

The PRCA and CIPR have defended the value of public relations after an article in City AM criticised London Mayor Sadiq Khan for increasing spend on communications.

The article follows a freedom of information act revealing the Mayor increased spending on communications by 26% since he was elected. The Mayor’s Office claim the statistics have been taken out of context.

PRCA Head of Communications and Marketing, Koray Camgoz commented:

“The article suggests Khan is ‘more concerned about PR than policy’, but what many fail to grasp is that you cannot have effective policy unless you understand the people you’re trying to reach.

“PR professionals play an essential role in helping businesses to understand these parameters. Our practice is not obsessed with publicity as has been reported  – it encompasses a range of disciplines which are integral to any professionally run businesses.
“Ultimately, PR professionals build trust between organisations and their stakeholders by delivering honest, timely and accurate information to those who need it. The PRCA stands shoulder to shoulder with communications professionals and will always champion the value of their work. Too often, our industry is a soft-target for lazy attacks by those who lack an understanding of what public relations entails.”

CIPR President, Jenni Field Chart.PR, FCIPR stated:

“The debate around amounts invested in communication and public relations is boring, tedious and simply comes from those who lack an understanding about what we do.

Public relations is not about spinning news or publicity. It is about the sustained effort to establish and maintain trust, goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics. In the public sector, communications fulfils a duty and is essential in delivering information and services to the most vulnerable and communicating change. Their impact in supporting frontline services should be supported and appreciated.”

Kerry Sheehan Chart.PR, FCIPR, CIPR Artificial Intelligence Chairalso stated:

“As Chair of CIPR’s LPS Group I am fully aware of the value and investment being placed on proactive communication, helping people and Councils in serving to support and deliver front line services. Stories like this do a disservice to their valuable work. This Freedom of Information request highlights an increase in overall spending on staff in City Hall but fails to put those figures in any context. Once again, we are having to defend the role of our colleagues who appear to be nothing more than a soft target by those who fail to understand the importance of their work.”

This follows a worrying trend in criticism of those investing in public sector communications, with CIPR finding itself defending the valuable contribution of public sector communications in recent months in responses to The Sun newspaper, The Taxpayers Alliance and even the Home Secretary.

As a result the CIPR will begin work to address this lack of understanding and to champion the work of our public sector members by putting together a series of case studies through our Local Public Services Group. For more information contact the Vice-Chair of the LPS Group, Mandy Pearse.

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