What is ethical public affairs?

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Public Affairs Co-operative is committed to an ethical approach to helping our clients influence the public policy process or lobby as its more commonly known.

So what exactly is ethical public affairs and what does it mean in practice?  This is at the heart of what our company does so we want to set out what this will mean for our clients and those we have contact with.

Lobbying is rarely out of the news and this year hasn’t bucked that trend.  The UK Government has, for the first time, passed legislation that will require for the first time a register of ‘consultant lobbyists’ to be kept.  The Scottish Parliament is currently carrying out its own inquiry into lobbying and it is expected they will follow suit.

So the public will soon know which UK Ministers are being lobbied and by whom.  That is a positive step in the right direction.  The new register will increase transparency but what will it mean for ethical public affairs?

At Public Affairs Co-operative our ethical approach to business has four strands:

  1. Industry leading best practice – our company adheres to both the The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Code of Conduct and the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) Professional Charter and Codes of Conduct;
  2. Professional qualification of staff – all our staff are members of relevant professional bodies and their memberships are listed on our company website.  If any member of the public thinks a member of our staff has acted in an improper way they can complain to their professional body and this complaint will be heard independently of Public Affairs Co-operative;
  3. Democratic workers’ co-operative – our staff own and run the company and elect the directors.  There are no shareholders.  Profits are either retained in the business, distributed to members (ie the staff) or donated to good causes.  In line with co-operative principles our aim is that at least 5% of profits will go to good causes each year.  We are members of Co-operatives UK and operate to their standards of good governance; and
  4. Choosing our clients and suppliers carefully – Public Affairs Co-operative does business with companies and organisations that share our values.  This means not doing business with companies involved in the fur trade, arms dealers who supply oppressive regimes, or multi-national companies with poor environmental records.  We will respect human rights, animal welfare, fair trade and the environment in all our business dealings