Az Chowdhury, our Founder and Senior Partner, was recently elected to the Committee of the Public Affairs Group at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Here are his thoughts on why it’s important to represent the industry, help shape policy and defend the highest standards…

People who work in the varied practices of public relations, corporate affairs and public affairs are all about communication. And communication is a good thing. In particular, the public affairs industry, or ‘lobbying’, often gets a reputation which it really doesn’t deserve. Engaging with politicians is not a bad thing.

Contrary to the stereotype, public affairs professionals – or lobbyists – are not perpetually sat in smoke filled rooms plotting, schmoozing over lunches and cosying up in the corridors of power. In fact, they’re dedicated, hard-working people with an in-depth understanding of policy, decision-making processes, great communication skills and sharp politically-tuned antennae. No business with a serious interest in policy and politics can do without them.

That’s why I am honoured to have been unanimously elected as a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Public Affairs Group. The Group represents 1,300 public affairs professionals bringing practitioners together to share best practice, learning opportunities, ethical standards and to help shape industry policy. It’s an invaluable voice via the pre-eminent platform that is the CIPR the industry’s professional institute. This Group will continue to take the above stereotypes to task head-on, leading the industry every step of the way.

Personally, I am proud to work in such a dynamic and inclusive industry. What sets public affairs apart from the broader communications family is our ability to help our clients navigate and interact with complex political systems. These range from the Government, to devolved assemblies/parliaments, regional authorities and local councils, plus other agencies in the public sphere.

The political world can be mystifying and even intimidating for businesses or other organisations because of its complexity, its fast-pace and its own unique culture (to say the least).

Having set up Nudge Factory in 2011, I’m delighted we have grown our business from scratch to work with clients across a range of sectors to help them engage and communicate with political stakeholders. This is not just about achieving clients’ corporate aims, it’s also about engaging with public policy, as professionals, to best interact with political processes and ensure decision-makers are informed and engaged.

The latest step on this journey for Nudge Factory is my being privileged to join the CIPR Public Affairs Group. Without doubt, the CIPR is the premier professional institute in the industry, with its Chartered status and history going back to 1948. Representing over 10,000 professionals in 85 countries it will continue to be the authority in professional communications and I will use my voice on the Public Affairs Group to enhance and improve the industry.