APPC chair says clients should demand more transparency

Written by David Singleton on 10 August 2017 in News

Paul Bristow spoke out during lunch with PRCA boss Francis Ingham.

The new chairman of the APPC has called for clients to quiz all agencies on whether they are a member of the APPC or PRCA.

But he has rowed back on a previous call for mandatory APPC membership to qualify for participation in pitches.

Paul Bristow’s latest comments came during a soon-to-be-published interview with PRCA director general Francis Ingham at Shepherd’s restaurant for PAN’s regular ‘lunch with’ feature.

Bristow told the PRCA boss: "I’d like to see more and more potential clients demanding more openness and transparency from agencies.  Asking if they’re members of the PRCA or the APPC.

"I, obviously, can’t force that to happen, but I think openness and transparency, as part of the pitch process would be a good thing."

Supporters of this idea argue that only agencies who are members of industry bodies are compelled to adhere to an ethical code of coduct, but some lobbyists are sceptical.

Six weeks ago Bristow raised eyebrows by suggesting that APPC membership should be mandatory to qualify for participation in pitches.

In response, one senior lobbyist pointed to APPC member Teneo Blue Rubicon's hiring of William Hague.

The lobbyist told PAN: "This is actually extraordinary. Lots of members have pressed the APPC to get involved re William Hague at Blue Rubicon, and they have turned a complete blind eye and then get on their moral high horse over a non-member. Hypocrisy is hardly the word."

The former Tory leader and foreign secretary has reportedly been working for Teneo’s ‘Brexit client transition unit’ after being signed up last year as a part-time adviser.

The APPC has said it will "monitor" Teneo Blue Rubicon to ensure that the firm is not breaching the code of conduct. But sources at Teneo Blue Rubicon have insisted that they are 100 per cent fully compliant with the APPC Code because Hague does "no UK public affairs work whatsoever for Teneo".

Speaking in late June, Bristow had said: "Mandatory APPC membership to qualify for participation in pitches is something I'd like to look into further and which will be on our agenda for the upcoming APPC strategy meeting."


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