Public Relations Consultants Association

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Twenty-pound-notes.jpg This article is part of the Lobbying Portal, a sunlight project from Spinwatch.

The Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) is the peak trade body for PR consultancies in the UK. It produces an annual Yearbook, which contains listings of clients of all its members.


The organisation was formed in 1969 and, according to its website, has over 120 members representing "70 per cent of fee income for UK public relations consultancies". PRCA members, it states, "employ around 4,600 people and generate more than £400 million in each year in fees from clients." [1]

Internal divisions 2004

However, for all its claims to breadth of membership the organisation has serious internal divisions. In July 2004, PR Week reported that Weber Shandwick (WS) had decided to cease being a member and Edelman was thinking of following suit.[2]

According to PR Week, WS UK & Ireland chief executive Colin Byrne said: "I have written to the PRCA telling it that after 24 years, WS is not going to renew its membership. We are its biggest financial contributor. Large chunks of my business - financial PR and public affairs - see the PRCA as largely irrelevant, yet they contribute to the high cost of our membership, around £13,000 for 2004/2005."[3]

Concerns over UK government transparency register 2014

In light of ongoing industry concerns over the Coalition government's proposed transparency register, the PRCA has said that:

We will continue to operate our Public Affairs Register. With its broad, working definition and its inclusion of in-house teams, it will continue to offer a far higher level of meaningful disclosure than the Statutory Register. Our commitment to transparency demands nothing less.

Scottish Government's draft lobbying bill

On 30 October 2015 Holyrood drafted details of a new lobbying bill, which includes proposals for a new register and code of conduct for the industry. The draft has come under fire from both the lobbying industry and lobbying campaigners for not being far reaching enough. Director General of the PRCA Francis Ingham forwarded the following criticism:

'Our industry believes in a register which covers anyone influencing government or advising others how to influence government, rather than simply defining it as oral communication. This is an improvement on Westminster’s legislation, but it falls short of the industry’s own voluntary disclosure. Civil servants, for instance, remain completely omitted from the scope.'[4]

UK 2016 Lobbying Bill

As a response to the second House of Lords reading on 09 September 2016, the Director General of PRCA, Francis Ingham, expressed their opinion on the Bill. While sharing the view that "the register cannot be truly representative and transparent unless it includes in-house lobbyists", they also stated:

"Sadly, this Bill is riddled with misconceptions about lobbying and transparency. The proposal to include financial disclosure on the register is deeply flawed and unworkable. Money does not equate to influence and including lobbying spend on the register does nothing to improve transparency. The proposal to include financial disclosure was dropped in the Lobbying (Scotland) Act and with good reason."

And added:

"While we support the development of ethical and professional standards, a statutory code of conduct is unfortunately not the way to improve ethical behaviour. A statutory code has the potential to undermine established and successful codes and risks a situation where members of the public viewing the Register assume that all organisations on there are committed to a high level of ethics." [5]


For a list of members of the PRCA see PRCA members

Contact details

Willow House,
Willow Place, London, SW1 1JH.
Tel : 020 7233 6026
Fax : 020 7828 4797

External links