Public Affairs and Lobbying Mini-Guide

30/05/2017

Work in this area involves monitoring political activity to forsee public policy and how it might affect a charity, business or other organisation. The roles are generally in a public affairs consultancy or in-house public affairs department.

What is it?

 

Work in this area involves monitoring political activity to forsee public policy and how it might affect a charity, business or other organisation. The roles are generally in a public affairs consultancy or in-house public affairs department.

 

The role will monitor Parliament’s activities as well as looking at Whitehall and the other organisations involved in political activity. It raises the profile of an organisation through lobbying and PR work, and provides strategic communications advice and offers general support.

 

What skills and qualifications will I need?

 

You’ll need an interest in politics. Most PA consultancies recruit graduates so look out for their schemes. A degree in politics is useful but not essential if you can demonstrate your ability and knowledge in the area. Other preferred disciplines are law, journalism, social policy, public relations and modern foreign languages.

 

Key skills

·         excellent communication skills – you may need to work with opposing ‘sides’ of a discussion   

·         keen interest in politics and current affairs

·         great interpersonal skills

·         ability to carry out independent research, assimilate, analyse and write a report

·         skilled writing – reports, newsletters, campaign material, press releases

·         monitoring information over a period of time

·         flexibility – while parliament is in recess, hours are more regular, but you will be busier during the conference season

 

Initially you will be involved in research and monitoring information. Career progression is good in this field and you could move on to director level where you will be responsible for strategic planning and relationship management, offering advice to clients and feeding back client concerns to politicians and civil servants. You could move to self employment after a number of years of gaining experience and a reputation.

 

What else do I need to know?

 

You could work for a private sector company, charity, not for profit organisation, overseas government or a trade association. The work is varied and fast paced. You will need to monitor political proceedings and be able to provide analysis of the activities to your clients, whilst maintaining relationships with politicians, civil servants and regulatory bodies – feeding back your client’s concerns.

 

Top Tip

 

Network. Create links and relationships with policy makers and decision makers. Attend debates, party conferences and talk to people. Volunteer to work for an MP to find out more and gain experience or apply for an internship.

 

Where can I get more information?

 

The Association of Professional Political Consultants - https://www.appc.org.uk  is UK based and includes a comprehensive members' directory.

 

The Cam Foundation is all about communications, advertising and marketing.  It offers advice and resources for professionals in the communications industry here http://www.camfoundation.com

 

The professional body of the PR Industry is here -  https://www.cipr.co.uk - offering advice and training details.

 

https://gcs.civilservice.gov.uk is the Government Communication Service – giving advice for people working in communications roles across government.