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What is the PRCA and why does it matter?

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 31st July 2012

In a previous life, I used to work for a professional association. So I have a lot of respect for organisations that aim to promote best practice within an industry and raise the profile and reputation of its practitioners.

What is the PRCA?

The PRCA (or Public Relations Consultants Association) is such a body that, here in the UK, supports and promotes the interests of PR consultancies, in-house communications teams, PR freelancers and individuals. Founded in 1969, the PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and internal communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

Here at EML Wildfire we are not only members of the PRCA, we are very active members. I currently chair the PRCA’s digital group, which promotes the adoption of digital PR techniques across the industry. Debby is chair of the tech group and Nick holds the same position with the CSR and Sustainability Group. We are often asked about our PRCA membership so felt this blog post would help give an explanation.

Why does it matter?

There are three answers to this question. Firstly, as an agency, we secure new business from the PRCA. The organisation has a scheme whereby it will recommend suitable members to companies that are looking to secure PR services.

But the only reason the PRCA does this is because we are members and therefore have met the stringent guidelines imposed on us as a member. And that really is the second reason for the importance of the PRCA; it upholds standards in the industry by checking the credentials of its members.

All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct and we are regularly required to pass the Consultancy Management Standard (CMS) – the hallmark of PR excellence. Combining elements of ISO9001 and Investors in People with criteria specific to a PR consultancy, the CMS is an internationally-recognised accreditation, used by PR companies in 15 countries around the world. It gives our clients and staff the assurance that we are acting and working in the best possible way.

Finally, and this is something that is particularly important to me, the PRCA helps move the entire industry on. That is certainly part of what Debby, Nick and I are pushing for in the work we do in our respective groups. But it goes far wider too as the recent activity around the NLA licensing goes to show.

Pushing PR forward

We’re proud of our association with the PRCA here at EML Wildfire and will continue to support it in its work within and outside the industry. PR is going through something of a metamorphosis at the moment with the growth of social and digital channels presenting a world of possibilities. It’s at times like this when the need for professional bodies is even more relevant and important.