Scotland’s first workers’ co-op specialising in public affairs has been launched in Edinburgh.

Public Affairs Co-operative Ltd guarantees an ethical, entirely transparent approach to business – based on high professional standards.

In the midst of the ongoing debate on regulation and ethical practice of public affairs agencies, Public Affairs Co-op believes lobbying’s reputation is in need of an overhaul, and while accepting regulation is a good start, Neil Cuthbert, founder of the Public Affairs Co-op, says the opportunity is there to offer something more:

“Lobbying and public affairs is still seen as some kind of ‘dark art’. You have to start asking yourself not only why that’s the case, but why it’s failed to change. Despite being an industry that works to protect its clients’ reputations, it has somehow failed to protect its own. I believe that’s because it’s not done enough to define its values.

“Worse, it can feel like its an exclusive, members-only club. Or that if you have to ask how much it costs, you probably can’t afford it. For community groups, charities and social enterprises, that can be enough disincentive to stop them asking altogether. That’s why I set out to find a team willing to do something different – open, ethical, and with a business model that proved our values. We’ll publish not just our client list, but our meetings, and our rates, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other agency do.”

Now with five staff in place to take the Public Affairs Co-op forward, Neil says he believes there’s an appetite for this kind of approach, not just from those who might want to become clients, but from others in the industry itself.

“We’ll choose our clients carefully – we want to work with organisations who share our values, as we believe this is what they want from a public affairs company. Speaking to others in the industry, I see how much the kind of approach we’re taking appeals to them as well. I don’t think we’ll be the last to take this road, but we’re very excited to be the first.”

Public Affairs Co-op offer support for organisations with political or issues-driven communications to reach the right audiences in government, parliament, media and local communities.

A further unique offer from Public Affairs Co-op is its series of fixed price packages – these offer cost effective, short term solutions for organisations wanting support in preparing a strategy, access to training, or extra capacity to deal with bigger announcements. Full details of these are available on the company website

Notes to editors:

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Staff of the Public Affairs Co-op are: Neil Cuthbert – Director; Ben McLeish – Director; Emma Beeby – Advisor; David Lee – Media Advisor and Paula Paterson – Business Manager. Short biogs and pictures of staff are available on the company website:

Public Affairs Co-operative profits will only ever be used for investing in the business, sharing equally among workers, and a set percentage will be distributed to charitable causes each year.

Public Affairs Co-op is on Twitter (@PACooperative).


The photo shows, from left to right: Paula Paterson, Emma Beeby, David Lee, Ben McLeish, Neil Cuthbert. (Photo credit: Chrisdonia)

For further information, to arrange an interview, or to request a higher resolution image, please contact: or call 07950 332 882 / 0131 240 1225