Lobbyists will not be marginalised, insist PRCA figures backing APPC merger

Written by Rod Muir on 29 August 2018 in News

Ketchum CE0 Jo-ann Robertson is one of 30 signatures to a new letter that hits back at rival lobbyists such Alex Deane.

The PRCA has garnered public support for the proposed merger with the APPC from 30 leaders of public affairs and communications agencies and in-house teams within its membership.
 
The senior figures have signed a letter stating that a merger would be “the most positive thing that has happened in our industry in recent memory” - and insisting that public affairs would not be "marginalised".
 
Senior lobbyists signing the latest letter include Ketchum CE0 Jo-ann Robertson, PLMR CEO Kevin Craig and Lodestone managing director Martha Dalton. A number of in-house public and corporate affairs figures have also put their name to the letter along with lobbying industry supremo and Shephard’s restaurant proprietor Lionel Zetter.
 
The latest development comes after a campaign against the proposed merger recently got off the ground with 20 senior APPC lobbyists on board. The pro-merger wing of the APPC then hit back with support from 30 invidividuals representing 24 APPC member organisations. 
 
As well as claiming that the merger would allow to the PR industry to “speak more loudly and more effectively on the issues that unite us”, the newly-published letter also tackles head on concerns expressed by FTI public affairs boss Alex Deane in a recent memo reported by PAN.
 
Deane warned against the merger by suggesting that PRCA members could not be relied on to stand up for the public affairs industry in times of crisis.  But the letter now being circulated by the PRCA says the merger would result in “a truly autonomous and powerful public affairs voice” and tells Deane he has nothing worry about. It states: "Those who worry that public affairs would be marginalised in our bigger organisation should learn from our experience - public affairs practitioners have always punched above our weight within the PRCA."
 
Meanwhile APPC chairman Paul Bristow has written for PAN, seeking to address "a few untrue assertions" about the merger plan and setting out how the APPC came to the decision to recommend a merger to the wider membership.
 
Bristow and PRCA boss Francis Ingham will be in the hotseats for a discussion about the merger on Tuesday 4th September. The event will take place Ellwood Atfield Gallery, 34 Smith Square , Westminster, with PAN editor David Singleton in the chair. It is open to APPC members, PRCA members and anyone else with an interest in the proposed merger.
 
 
 
 
 
THE PRCA LETTER IN FULL WITH 30 SIGNATURES
 
 
Sir,
 
We write as leaders of public affairs and communications agencies and in-house teams within PRCA membership; and as current and former PRCA office-holders, to echo last week's letter from 30 APPC members supporting an APPC and PRCA merger.
 
The details of the proposed merger have been discussed at length publicly, and we endorse unreservedly the seven key benefits of merger as set out in the Memorandum of Understanding. We feel it is important to add to the comments ourselves with the following points:
 
Merger would be the most positive thing that has happened in our industry in recent memory. By creating a stronger, bigger membership body representing the public affairs community, we would speak more loudly and more effectively on the issues that unite us. 
 
And it would be a truly autonomous and powerful public affairs voice. Those who worry that public affairs would be marginalised in our bigger organisation should learn from our experience – public affairs practitioners have always punched above our weight within the PRCA; listened to by the PRCA Board; making our own decisions on literally all issues that we care about; drawing on resources at PRCA HQ literally whenever we need them. Being part of the PRCA amplifies rather than diminishes our voice. That will be as true in the future as it is today.
 
It would be a genuine merger of equals. True, respective sizes are very different. But the written guarantees around the Code; representation on the PRCA Board; veto over any changes anytime in the future show that this is a merger of equals - most definitely not a takeover.
 
We would together spread the gold standard of ethical practice around our industry, embedding the new unified Code as the default setting for our industry, and challenging – in the strongest possible terms - those who ascribe currently to no standards to do so.
 
The new body would be a home for all public affairs practitioners of whatever size; whether boutique or generalists; in-house, agency, or freelance; in all parts of the UK. The range for signatories below shows that the PRCA has always been a broad church. that church would be even broader if we merged. Those of us who run small teams say this with confidence: our voice has always counted just as much as the voice of those who run very large ones. And in many ways, we benefit more from our PRCA members than our larger colleagues do -we heartily endorse the PRCA to other small agency and in-house team leaders.
So our message to our friends and fellow practitioners is this: the time to join together for the good of our industry is now.
 
Signed,
 
Claire Aiken MPRCA, Managing Director, Aiken PR
James Butcher MPRCA, Senior Campaign Manager and Public Affairs Lead, Spink Health
Nathaniel Cassidy CMPRCA, Chairman, Northern Group, PRCA
Alison Clarke FPRCA, Former Chairman, PRCA; Former President, IPR; Chairman, CPD Board, PRCA
Sally Costerton FPRCA, Director, Sally Costerton Advisory; Former Chairman, PRCA 
Kevin Craig MPRCA, CEO, PLMR
Martha Dalton CMPRCA, Managing Director, Lodestone
Paul Dimoldenberg MPRCA, Executive Chairman, Quatro PR
Dick Fedorcio FPRCA, Co-Chairman, Qualifications Board, PRCA; Former President, IPR
Simon Francis CMPRCA, Founder Member, Campaign Collective; Chairman, Charity and Not-For-Profit Group, PRCA
David Gallagher FPRCA, President, Growth and Development, International, Omnicom; Former Chairman, PRCA
Susan Hardwick CMPRCA, Co-Founder and Joint President, Global Women in PR
Liam Herbert MPRCA, Chief Executive, Chelgate
Richard Houghton FPRCA, Former Chairman, PRCA
Jack Irvine MPRCA, Executive Chairman, Media House International
Keith Johnston FPRCA, CEO, Family Office Council; Former Chairman, Government Affairs Group, CIPR; Former Board Member, UKPAC
Robert Khan FPRCA, Former Chairman, Government Affairs Group, CIPR
Katie King CMPRCA, Chairman, South East and East Anglia Group, PRCA
Kirsty Leighton CMPRCA, Founder, Milk and Honey; Chairman, London Group, PRCA
Elisabeth Lewis Jones MPRCA, CEO, Liquid; Former Chairman, PR Council, PRCA; Former President, CIPR
Mark MacGregor MPRCA, Corporate Affairs Director, Philip Morris
Sean McKee MPRCA, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Dominick Moxon-Tritsch MPRCA, Global Director of Regulation and Public Policy, Taxify
Simon Nayyar MPRCA, Managing Director, Acuitas Communications 
Angela Oakes CMPRCA, Co-Founder and Joint President, Global Women in PR
Jonny Popper MPRCA, Managing Director and Partner, London Communications Agency
Jo-ann Robertson MPRCA, CEO, Ketchum London
James Turgoose MPRCA, Managing Director, JBP
Steffan Williams MPRCA, Chairman, PRCA; Partner, Porta
Lionel Zetter FPRCA, Managing Director, Zetter’s Political Services; Chairman, Public Affairs and Lobbying Group, PRCA; Former President, CIPR; Former Chairman, Government Affairs Group, CIPR

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