NEWS-BITE | PR | Public Affairs: The PR Consultants Association has called on the government to tighten up the rules regards former political advisors and civil servants taking jobs in the public affairs sector.
While there is a logic to people who have advised senior politicians moving into PR roles advising companies on their political relations, the PRCA reckons that the rules that govern such career moves need to be more rigorous, to help reassure the public that the lobbying sector is legitimate and above board. The PR trade body has spoken out on the issue following the news that Jonathan Luff, a senior advisor to David Cameron, is joining controversial loans company Wonga to lead its government affairs team.
The PRCA also notes that, under the government’s original plans for a statutory register of lobbyists, Luff would not be listed, because ministers proposed only listing those in agency roles, rather than in-house public affairs professionals. The government is currently reconsidering its plans on the statutory register after criticism from various quarters regards the agency-only proposal.
PRCA boss Francis Ingham told esPResso: “It is ridiculous that a lobbyist that was until recently advising the Prime Minister would not be included on a statutory register. The government needs to take transparency seriously and require all professional lobbyists to register. At the same time we need tighter regulation of former government officials to end the practice of ‘revolving door’ lobbying, which harms an industry that wants to be more transparent”.