An update on our ethical approach

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PA Co-op teamPublic Affairs Co-op is the first of its kind; a public affairs consultancy guided by ethics.

Public Affairs Co-operative is the UK’s first ethical, democratically run, worker led co-operative specialising in stakeholder engagement and lobbying.

At our launch in March 2014, we made 10 commitments to ethical conduct and co-operative principles.  We wanted to update you on how we are matching up to this call to action.

This year, Public Affairs Co-op has focussed its investment on education, skills training, and information, with the help of Santander Bank.

Santander Bank offers internship funding for 2,000 small to medium size UK businesses to take on graduates for a three month period, giving the valuable hands-on industry experience and skills.

This summer, with the help of Santander, we were able to welcome our Graduate Intern, Cissie Liu to our team. Cissie is completing her Master’s degree in Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh.

UK Government regulation of lobbying

What differentiates Public Affairs Co-op is its commitment to being a different kind of public affairs consultancy; one that is driven by the values of ethics and professionalism.

We are proud to operate according to the principles set out in the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Code of Conduct.  As a CIPR member carrying out lobbying work, our Director Neil Cuthbert has been registered with the UK Public Affairs Council (UKPAC) since 2013. The UKPAC register allows you to search for organisations or individuals who are registered as lobbyists, and also to search by client.

In 2014 the UK coalition government passed the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act.  This Act established the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists (ORCL).  ORCL is an independent statutory office, responsible for publishing the statutory Register of Consultant Lobbyists.

Last month, we completed the process of registering with ORCL and are now one of only three public affairs businesses in Scotland on the official lobbyists register.

Last year we made a pledge to abide by all measures put in place to ensure helping clients influence government policy is ethical and transparent.  We are pleased to report on the progress made so far and support efforts to raise professional standards in this industry.

Scottish Government Increasing transparency around lobbying

On 29 May, the Scottish Government issued a consultation on proposals for establishing a register of consultant and in-house lobbyists lobbying Members of the Scottish Parliament.  This has been expected for some time after an inquiry by the Scottish Parliament Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee which reported in February.

Public Affairs Co-op welcomes this consultation from the Scottish Government which seeks to ensure transparency and provide the public with a thorough, and complete picture of all lobbying activity in Scotland, by both consultant and in-house lobbyists.  The indication are that the Scottish Government wants to go further than the UK Government and include a requirement that the Scottish Parliament publish a Code of Conduct for lobbyists.

Public Affairs Co-op will be submitting its consultation response and making it available through our website. You can submit your response to the Scottish Government until July 24.