CIPR’s response to SPPA Committee’s report on Lobbying (Scotland) Bill

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Scottish parliament

The Scottish Parliament’s Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments (SPPA) Committee’s report on the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill provides a chance for a ‘sense check’ on the development of a lobbying register in Scotland.

Committee’s report follows a consultation on the potential impact of the proposed lobbying bill in Scotland. It highlights the possibility of the scope of the legislation being extended to include forms of communication other than face-to-face contact.

The report acknowledges that extending the scope of legislation would mean increasing volume of information registrants would be required to provide. In its
response to the SPPA consultation, the CIPR warned against unduly piling the burden of compliance on lobbyists in Scotland, and the Institute welcomes the committee’s call for the Scottish Government to re-examine the requirements of the register with this in mind.

The CIPR has long maintained its support for a sensible and proportionate lobbying register in Scotland that can help improve public accessibility to information on lobbying in Holyrood

“The findings of the SPPA’s report provide a useful point of reflection and a ‘sense-check’. Efforts to improve transparency should be welcomed but changes to the scope of the legislation need to be sensible and practical, while still collecting information of relevance.

We are also concerned that the Scottish Government’s failure to include unpaid lobbying risks becoming an invitation to avoidance for unethical lobbyists.”

Katrine Pearson MCIPR, Chair of CIPR Scotland


The PRide of Scottish PR

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8 October saw over 350 PR professionals gather in Glasgow to celebrate the best of PR in Scotland.

Smarts were one of the evening’s big winners, picking up two Gold awards for Low Budget campaign and Best Use of Social Media with their ‘We love our gingers’ campaign for Border Biscuits, created to celebrate Border’s best-selling chocolate ginger biscuits and embrace the nation’s love of all things ginger.

Other multiple Gold Award winners on the night included PR agencies, Pagoda Porter Novelli, Holyrood PR and Weber Shandwick, along with the corporate communications team at West Dunbartonshire Council. 3×1 Public Relations took home the award for Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy.

With a record number of entries and campaigns from a diverse range of sectors, this year’s PRide Awards show that the Scottish PR industry is alive and kicking. From our rising PR stars to recognising some of the best practitioners and teams in the business, I’m proud to be involved in the awards. Public relations in its many and ever-evolving disciplines can add real value for businesses and public sector organisations alike and PRide is our chance to shout about this.

Katrine Pearson MCIPR, Chair of CIPR Scotland

For some PRidespiration take a look at all the winners and case studies.

A Frank discussion about the Edinburgh Papers

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If you missed our event with Frank O’Donnell, managing editor of The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday, take a look at this insightful blog from Kirrie McNab at O’Leary PR.


Frank took us through the big changes that have gone on at Johnston Press over the past two years, which has seen the three Edinburgh based papers merge and a large chunk of its workforce laid off.

The question, I’d imagine, that has been on most communications professionals’ lips since these changes became public knowledge is: ‘how does this affect us?’ Understanding how a newspaper ticks is integral to ensuring the best coverage for your client, so hearing this straight from the horse’s mouth was vitally important.

Like every other major newspaper in the UK, the Edinburgh based papers have had to adapt to survive: The Edinburgh Evening News used to have three editions every day – now it is once a day and not even in the evening (they are slowing reducing the size of ‘Evening’ in the mast, until one day it will disappear completely); the Scotsman’s circulation has halved since 2010; and both the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday changed their formats from broadsheet to compact and tabloid respectively.

The emphasis on digital at the papers has increased massively. With 4 million impressions each month, Frank advises us that competition between the journalists to get the most hits is intense. As a result, a detailed press release to get coverage online is no longer required – it’s all about short, snappy stories with pictures and video, where appropriate.

Of course, there is still print edition of the papers for the more traditional stories. But if it is the sort of story that is likely to be liked, shared or re-tweeted en masse, the chances are it will end up online.

Frank also touched on native advertising, which isn’t a new concept but is something that has taken its time to filter through to the Scottish media from London. Whilst being reassured that this form of advertising is quite obvious to the reader in print format, online it isn’t as easy to spot. From a PR point of view, which someone pointed out, the worry is always that it will become harder and harder for us to get bandwidth for our stories if we aren’t paying. That said, there is no page limit online and if the Scotsman can churn out both quantity and quality, the column inches are endless.

To summarise – there is space across all three papers and their online guises for all of our stories, within reason, but where they end up is down to how they are packaged and where they ‘work best’. With so much competition for ‘hits’ on their stories, and limited pages in print editions, there is a very little space and very little time for features. Good relationships with a journalists, where both parties can trust the other to produce features that will make, is key.

Kirrie McNab

Kirrie McNab, senior account manager, @OLearyPR

Inspiration for Internal Communicators

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Internal communications

I spent the last couple of days in Brighton at the Institute of Internal Communications annual conference. The theme this year was Agile internal communications but for me the two outstanding presentations were one on the attitudinal differences between generations and one internal comms specialist’s journey to becoming a trusted advisor and regular attendee at board meetings.

The latter, by Saskia Jones (@saskiahjones1) of Oxfam (@Oxfam) was an inspirational story of how to position internal communications as an integral part of the organisation at a strategic level. Given the bee I have in my bonnet about how most IC practitioners underestimate their own potential worth to their organisation and end up essentially just producing and disseminating the messages senior managers feel are appropriate, Saskia’s story was an object lesson in what can be achieved if you have the courage to challenge. Suffice to say that she now has a department of ten (it started as two) despite Oxfam having been through some challenging financial times. Such is the strategic importance of internal communications now to their global operation.

Dean van Leeuwen’s (@deanthefuturist) very entertaining presentation on generational differences also chimed with me. I think in internal comms – or in external comms for that matter – we often segment our target audiences by demographics without spending too much time thinking about how these different groups relate to each other. Externally that might not be too much of an issue in that if you’re trying to influence two different age or gender groups you could use different key messages and media.

But in internal comms you’re in a slightly different position in that your various target audiences actually have to work together. That means they need to talk to each other and, hopefully, actually understand each other! Dean illustrated these differences with the ‘interview’ between the great educationalist, Sir Rhodes Boyson, and Ali G. The interview centred around the subject of caning; for Boyson ‘getting caned’ was capital punishment but for the generation represented by Ali G it means something completely different altogether!

What it means for the internal communications practitioner is that simply creating messages and shovelling them into the various channels available should be the least of your worries, although one that inevitably seems important to senior management. The internal communicator’s role as facilitator and strategic planner is all the more vital when you realise that most senior managers are either from the silent generation or, more likely, the baby boomers and most workers are from gens X and Y. And remember it will only be a couple of years before organisations start employing generation Z!

And for many organisations you also have to think about cultures and languages. (My next internal communications strategy course in a couple of weeks or so is in Dubai where the Boyson/Ali G interview just wouldn’t be appropriate.)

It’s this complexity of interweaving organisational strategy with the challenging relationships of humanity and, increasingly, the use of digital technology that I find so fascinating about internal comms!

Finally, but very importantly, Oxfam are one of the key charities working in Nepal to help the people there following the dreadful earthquake. If you haven’t already donated (and even if you have) please give a wee donation to Oxfam by texting NEPAL5 or NEPAL10 to 70066.

Neil Jones FCIPR is a Fellow of the Institute of Internal Communications and experienced trainer both in the UK and the Middle East. In a 40 year career, Neil has worked in public relations and marketing in a wide range of industries from marine electronics to the motor industry. @Cairnstone

The 2015 PRide Awards are here!

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PRide Awards

The most credible regional awards in the public relations industry, the PRide Awards recognise and reward outstanding work across nine UK regions and nations. They are a celebration of exceptional talent and a reflection of public relations best practice. Only the highest calibre of experts, drawn from the very top of their fields are selected to judge our awards. Winning a PRide Award demonstrates the value of your work to your clients or board and marks you out as an industry leader in your region.

We are immensely proud of winning a CIPR PRide award. It’s a powerful endorsement from our professional peers for work that we’ve done. The bar is set extremely high, so winning means that we really feel we have performed at the highest level. We know that awards are also important to prospective new clients when they are searching for new agencies.

Giselle Dye, Director, Pagoda PR

Last year we received more than 130 entries and 360 industry professionals came together to celebrate the best campaign, strategies and teams of the year. We are looking forward to seeing even more outstanding work in the 2015 awards. There are 24 categories covering multiple disciplines and sectors; find out more and enter here.

Dates for your diary

27 March – Pride Awards open for entry

10 June – Standard entry deadline (6pm)

17 June – Late entry deadline (6pm)

17 July -Shortlist announced

8 October – Scotland PRide Awards dinner, Marriot Hotel, Glasgow