May 11, 2004
TO: Members of the Public Relations Society of America
FROM: Board of Ethics and Professional Standards
The PRSA Code may be found online at www.prsa.org.
PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS ADVISORY PS-1 (MAY 2004)
ISSUE: Disclosure of employment status of public relations agency staff or independent public relations consultants who work on-site at a client''s offices.
BACKGROUND: Today there are a variety of practices in terms of the client-agency/consultant relationship. A practice that is apparently being used more frequently is one in which employees of an agency or independent consultants work on-site at the client organization, in either a full or part-time capacity. Sometimes they are identified with company titles. Having agency staff or consultants on-site can benefit the client company by providing face-to-face access to their counsel and support. Plus, the additional personnel are available to handle routine or specific PR responsibilities.
However, at a time when openness and transparency in communications is recognized as a "best practice" for companies and organizations, public relations professionals must consider the issue of disclosure.
RELEVANT SECTIONS OF THE PRSA CODE: There are several principles in the Code that relate to this issue, including:
Recommended Best Practice: When speaking to the public and/or the media on behalf of a client, agency personnel or independent consultants should uniformly and clearly identify themselves as outside spokespeople, retained by the company.