Cascade runs away with best agency gong at Public Affairs Awards
Federation of Master Builders and Newington Communications were also big winners.
Property and planning lobbying firm Cascade Communications saw off tough competition from a number of more established rivals to win consultancy of the year at the 2017 Public Affairs Awards.
The 11-strong agency run by former Bell Pottinger director Emma Waterfall impressed judges with its “client and staff retention, strong growth in profits and commitment to pro bono work”.
Also on the shortlist were Cicero Group, Connect Communications, Hume Brophy, Newington Communications and the little-known agency JFG Communications.
Cascade was set up in 2011 by Waterfall, who was previously youngest director at Bell Pottinger at the age of 27, and boasts Battersea Power Station as a key client. On the Cascade website, Waterfall states that gaining planning permission for the redevelopment of the power station is her “career highlight”.
Unusually, the agency is not a member of the APPC or the PRCA meaning it does not have to adhere to the ethical lobbying codes drawn up by either of the main public affairs industry membership bodies.
Other big winners on the night included Federation of Master Builders, which took home in-house team of the year, and Newington Communications, which picked up consultancy campaign of the year for its ‘Licensed Taxi Drivers Association: Hailing a new era for the taxi industry’ campaign
PLMR won the social media campaign of the year, Connect Communications picked up planning campaign of the year and corporate campaign of the year went to Vivergo Fuels. Meanwhile public sector campaign of the year was awarded to the Royal College of Nursing and voluntary sector campaign of the year was claimed by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
Party conference reception of the year was won by Finsbury and party conference stand of the year was awarded to National Farmers Union. The award for party fringe event of the year was given to PHA Media and Vardags for an event titled ‘Sex, lies and ireconcilable differences: time for no fault divorce?’
The outstanding contribution award went to Weber Shandwick boss Colin Byrne, while the Douglas Smith Prize for oustanding young lobbyist was awarded to Natasha Silkin from PB Consulting.
Following controversy over the shortlisting of anti-abortion campaign Both Lives Matter, no award was handed out for best campaign in Northern Ireland. But organisers later said that the award had gone to the Both Lives Matter campaign.
The awards are a collaboration between GovKnow, PRCA, and Zetter’s Political Services, supported by Public Affairs News. Last night’s black-tie event at the Park Plaza Riverbank was hosted by Channel 4 News political correspondent and attended by around 400 public affairs professionals.
PRCA director general Francis Ingham said: “This is the fourth year we have celebrated these awards and the standard of entries continues to be impressive. These awards are a testament to the strength of the public affairs and lobbying industry in the UK and we look forward to seeing you again next year.”