There are 3 distinct professional bodies in the United Kingdom:


The Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) promotes all aspects of public relations and internal communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

PRCA exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry's behalf.

The PRCA represents many of the major consultancies in the UK, and currently has over 350 agency members from around the world including the majority of the top 150 UK consultancies. The PRCA also represents over 150 in-house teams, including many of Europe's leading corporations and UK public sector organisations, as well as individual and freelance PR and communications practitioners.


The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)  Public Affairs Group is a specialist sector group of the CIPR. It aims to represent the membership of the group, to facilitate networking and to provide a forum for the exchange of information, ideas and best practice.

CIPR Public Affairs Group members are communication professionals who have regular dealings with Government or the institutions of Government in its very widest sense. This can be at local government level, at Westminster or Whitehall, at the European Union, or in Belfast, Edinburgh or Cardiff. Members can be in-house, consultancy-based or freelance.

CIPR PA Group members' dealings with government are not restricted to 'lobbying', but embrace all aspects of public affairs and political relations. Members can include those who: work for government agencies, write about government, work for or provide services to government, work for political parties. The background and skills of members include public relations and communications, journalism and the law.

The Group is strongly cross party and does not seek to take partisan positions on political issues. Patrons and Members of the Executive Committee encompass people who are members of all the main UK political parties as well as those of no party.

Members of the CIPR Public Affairs Group must also be members of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Members of the Group are expected to abide by a Code of Conduct agreed by members .


The Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC) is the self-regulatory body for UK public affairs practitioners. As well as its traditional membership base of consultancies, APPC membership is now available to trade associations, in-house PA teams and individuals.

APPC’s members are individuals and firms that offers political consultancy services relating to the institutions of UK government (be they central, regional or local) and/or other public bodies. These services may be the principal business of the firm or ancillary to it, provided that they are undertaken for third parties on a commercial basis. Members range in size from sole traders to firms employing over 1,300 public affairs consultants

The APPC has three main roles:

  • To ensure transparency and openness by maintaining a register of political practitioners;
  • To enforce high standards by requiring members to adhere to a code of conduct;
  • To promote understanding of the public affairs sector, and the contribution made by political practitioners to a properly functioning democracy.

 Organisations using political consultants come from the voluntary, campaigning and public sectors, as well as from private industry.

 APPC is run by its Management Committee, elected annually at the AGM. Eight members are elected annually at the AGM and, to ensure continuity, past Chairs may remain as members of the Management Committee. The AGM also elects a Chairman who may serve for a maximum of two years. The Management Committee’s roles include admitting new members, overseeing the self-regulatory regime and, if necessary, taking disciplinary action.

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