The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) have issued a joint statement praising the efforts of communications professionals during the coronavirus outbreak. The two bodies have also published an open letter to the Chancellor calling for more support for freelance practitioners.

Joint statement:

The coronavirus outbreak and the extraordinary measures brought in to protect public health have had an unprecedented impact on the public relations industry. 

PR organisations across the UK have already lost staff, while up to 8,500 freelancers face the prospect of losing clients and being unable to support themselves or their families. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with communications professionals in all sectors and will do all in our power to protect the industry.

Many of our members have a frontline role in ensuring that the public have access to timely, reliable and transparent news. To those in frontline roles – your work will play a key role in our national effort to educate the public and encourage behaviour change to promote public health in the coming weeks and months. Your commitment to ethical communication in the public interest is appreciated and we encourage you to work together where possible to continue those efforts. 

We will continue to push for the Government to commit the resources PR professionals need. We are reassured by the Prime Minister’s assessment that we hope to defeat the virus in a matter of weeks. The Government has committed to protecting businesses, jobs and salaries – we now urgently need them to do more to protect our freelance community and home-based businesses. 

Our profession plays a significant role in the economy, and touches every sector in the country. The importance of trustworthy and ethical communication at this time could not be clearer. Managing a crisis requires strategic communication to provide certainty to the public, influence public opinion, and inspire changes in behaviour. Our members will have a crucial role to play in rebuilding the economy in the coming months. 

We have been heartened to witness the support the community has provided to each other and to those who need it the most. You are a credit to the profession. 
 
Francis Ingham MPRCA  
Director General, Public Relations and Communications Association
 
Alastair McCapra   
CEO, Chartered Institute of Public Relations