The PRCA exists to raise standards in PR and communications, and the raising of ethical standards is a hugely important part of that.
All PRCA members must abide by the dedicated PRCA Professional Charter and Codes of Conduct. The Professional Charter exists to cover all professionals in all professional activities, whereas the specific Codes – such as the PRCA Lobbying and Public Affairs Code of Conduct – exist to address sector-specific ethical requirements. All members are expected to know the PRCA Professional Charter and Codes of Conduct.
The PRCA Professional Charter and Codes of Conduct are enforced through the PRCA Arbitration and Disciplinary Procedures. In the first instance, the PRCA will always seek to mediate and assist parties in dispute, whether one or both sides of that dispute are members.
Following the expulsion of Bell Pottinger in September 2017, the PRCA’s ethical processes received widespread attention due to the media interest. In the House of Lords, responding to written questions, Baroness Sugg – responding for the Government – said: “The UK has a world-leading system of professional standards and industry-specific codes of conduct, which we encourage British companies to uphold in their operations domestically and overseas. Our industry bodies and regulators ensure compliance, as demonstrated by the robust response of the PRCA to Bell Pottinger’s activities in South Africa.”
The PRCA offers ethics training and no practitioner can complete the PRCA Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme without having completed some form of ethics activity.