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Following the vote of Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC) members to merge into the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), the new Public Affairs Board came into force, creating a single, stronger, united voice for the industry.

Bringing together members of the PRCA Public Affairs and Lobbying Group, and former members of the APPC, the Public Affairs Board is composed of 1,871 practitioners and will be led by the newly-formed Executive Committee. Of the 44 former APPC members who were not previously PRCA members, 41 have already confirmed their membership with the PRCA.

The single, unified body for public affairs will fulfil its role of ensuring transparency through a joint register; enforce high standards through a unified Public Affairs Code; and promote a wider understanding of public affairs and the contribution it makes to public life.

Paul Bristow CMPRCA, former Chair, APPC, is the new Chair of both the Public Affairs Board and its governing Executive Committee. Lionel Zetter FPRCA, former Chairman, PRCA Public Affairs and Lobbying Group, sits on the Executive Committee.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said:

“This is a defining moment for the Public Affairs industry. By creating one unified body, we will pursue our common goal of making the case for lobbying as a democratic necessity and as an ethical and professional practice more effectively than ever before.

“Those of us who campaigned for merger did so on the basis of clear commitments laid out in our MoU. Those commitments will now be delivered speedily and in full, combining the best of both organisations.

“I welcome Paul Bristow as the first Public Affairs Board Chair, and as a new Board Member and Officer of the PRCA. I would also like to thank him and industry legend Lionel Zetter for their leadership and vision.

“The vast majority of those who opposed merger have decided to transfer their membership across from the APPC. This shows that the industry now wishes to make this merger work, and to make discord a thing of the past. Which is precisely what we shall do, starting today.”

Paul Bristow CMPRCA, Chair, Public Affairs Board, said:

“I look forward to working with Lionel - who is a huge figure in the lobbying world - and all of my new colleagues from the PRCA as we embark on this exciting new chapter together.

“With a significantly enhanced membership, a single Code of Conduct, a single disciplinary procedure, and the support of the PRCA’s exceptional resources and personnel, I am determined to ensure that the Public Affairs Board becomes the most authoritative voice of lobbyists in the UK as we confront multiple regulatory and political threats. We must also be ambitious for the future, growing membership of the Public Affairs Board, especially now that we can make such a compelling case for joining a new, unified body.

“However, our immediate focus must be on delivering the commitments made in the Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the APPC and the PRCA. Ensuring that we create a single unified Code of Conduct is our top priority. This will be discussed at the first Executive Committee meeting on Monday, 5th November, 2018 and I hope that we can agree a sensible way forward to create the new unified Code to cover all new members of the Public Affairs Board at the earliest feasible opportunity.

“It’s also important that the recommendations of the APPC’s recent strategy review are given proper consideration by the Executive Committee. This was not part of the MoU but it’s something that many of the APPC’s former members have made clear to me that they’d like me to take forwards in my new role. I plan to discuss this with the Executive Committee to agree the appropriate next steps.”

Lionel Zetter FPRCA, former Chairman, PRCA Public Affairs and Lobbying Group, said:

“This merger represents a big step forward for the public affairs industry. The merged body will be a powerful voice for ethical standards, and the combined weight of the two organisations will ensure that the voice of public affairs is heard by all key stakeholders – including government and the wider PR industry.”

The inaugural meeting of the Public Affairs Board Executive Committee takes place on Monday 5th November, 2018 at the PRCA: click here for more details and to RSVP for this drinks event.