Lobbyists in bid to 'ban' law firms from Govt work

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  • Lobbyists in bid to 'ban' law firms from Govt work

    The Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC) undoubtedly has a role to play in regulating the activities of its own members. It seems, however, to imply that it has a monopoly on ethical behaviour, which is misleading.

    The CIPR is a 60 year-old professional body with a Royal Charter and a strict Code of Conduct. It has over 9,000 members working in-house and in consultancy, all of whom sign up to the Code and the highest levels of professionalism and integrity.

    Not only is the APPC’s allusion that only its members behave ethically disingenuous, it appears as a blatant attempt by the organisation to gain an exclusive commercial advantage for its members – something that might well be in breach of the Competition Act.

    Furthermore, it appears that it is wrong in its assertion that there is nothing to stop law firms with public affairs arms from unilaterally disclosing their client lists.

    Any ambitions by the APPC to become the sole arbiter of ethical behaviour in the public affairs industry and to use this as a way to further its members’ business interests are unhelpful and unlikely to succeed – and smacks of an attempt to return to the days of the closed shop.

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  • APPC response

    The Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC) welcomes a debate about the way organisations and individuals interact with institutions of government, but feel this misrepresents our position.

    We do not seek to prevent any organisation from working with government. We do, however, believe that all those who interact with government should follow principles of openness, honesty, integrity and propriety in their dealings.

    Together with the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) and the CIPR Government Affairs Group (CIPR GAG), the APPC has developed a set of guiding principles that we believe should inform all those who interact wih government. We are currently consulting a wide range of organisations, including the Law Society, on the merits of adhering to these principles.

    We also believe that, in addition to the guiding principles, organisations interacting with government should follow more detailed codes of conduct appropriate for their sector, embodying the guiding principles and incorporating independent disciplinary procedures where the code has been breached.

    The APPC Code of Conduct provides one such model. We remain open-minded about how other organisations demonstrate their full compliance with the guiding principles.

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