PR needs a renewed focus on ethics, diversity and impact

Posted on 27/10/2019


The PR and Communications profession is at a cross roads.

Recent scandals involving Ruth Davidson MSP, “pride-washing” and “astro-turfing” show that the profession has not moved on fast enough and far enough from the Bell Pottinger scandal. At least in terms of public and opinion formers’ perceptions.

We either build on the work we have been doing to improve ethics, diversity and standards, or we stagnate.

That’s why the election for the PRCA Council this year is an important one. There are two leadership positions up for election (Chair and Vice-Chair) as well as the general council members.

The election for those top positions is simple, the candidate with the most votes becomes Chair and the one with the second most votes will be Vice Chair.

As Chair or Vice Chair of the PRCA Council, I will propose ethics, diversity and standards are the focus of the Council’s work.

Underpinning our work on all these themes must be a step change in demonstrating the positive social impact the profession has.

The PRCA Council has made bold steps in agreeing a definition for social impact, but we need a dedicated drive to move this agenda forward.

Demonstrating our social impact will improve recruitment and retention, ensure we are talking the language of board rooms and procurement teams and show to the public that we are a globally aware, responsible profession.

The first ever analysis of the social impact of PR and communications agencies revealed that 80% of practitioners have helped meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In addition, three quarters have encouraged workplace diversity with two thirds involved in genuine corporate social responsibility programmes.

This is a platform we can build on and, as a Founder of Campaign Collective, a social enterprise PR agency, I would be delighted to lead that charge.