THURSDAY 3 JAN 2013 3:44 PM


Yesterday, the Times reported on All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), alleging that such groups receive thousands of pounds in corporate sponsorship each year. In response, the PRCA has reaffirmed its support of APPGs on the basis that they subscribe to Parliamentary regulations calling for financial transparency.

A 2012 working group report documented the importance of APPGs to facilitating debate between stakeholders and MPs. While APPGs are not required to publicise their minutes, they must declare the list of clients in attendance and any financial assistance received. The PRCA says that, so long as such support is transparent, APPGs are in accordance with regulations.

The PRCA has long supported the establishment of a lobbying register in order to promote transparency in Parliamentary dealings with private corporations and individuals. Any PRCA members that participate in an APPG must declare their actions on the PRCA register. Additionally, Parliament keeps a register of all APPGs and their members.

PRCA director general Francis Ingham says, “There is clearly a distinction to be made between outside parties transparently providing secretariat services to an APPG, and outside parties hiding their involvement in APPGs, or providing inducements to parliamentarians. The first is proper and helpful, the second is clearly wrong. As the professional body for public relations and public affairs practitioners, we insist that our members declare any support provided to APPGs. They do this on a quarterly basis, in a published register. They have done so for the past decade, as a condition of our Code of Conduct.”