Public Affairs: The Year Ahead

Feb 9, 2012 by
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Posted under: Public Affairs

As we push off from the starting gates of 2012 it’s useful to look at what may lie in store for the industry. With future protraction in the public sector, budget cuts across in-house teams and an increasingly competitive agency market  it’s timely that we are due to launch the next UK public affairs survey. The 2011 survey proved a unique and useful tool, providing a litmus test for the mood of the industry.

Last year’s survey showed one resounding result over all else – a huge confidence in the industry. Even when bearing in mind the issues faced in the previous year, the majority of practitioners across all sectors and disciplines had high hopes for 2011 and the opportunities the coming year would offer.

How will this be in comparison to the results this year?  Economically, UK GDP has not met the Chancellors predications which, as we entered 2011, were far from robust in the first place. The Euro crises has deepened and Westminster returned to the announcement that a trench of Eurozone countries had had their national ratings reduced by S&P.

Generally, business is predicting quarter one as a rough ride. Not as tough as 2008 in terms of major shock waves but dipping further from a standing start of budget constraints will mean that communications budgets are squeezed further while the remit and scope for public affairs will be more in demand. How will this affect the job market for those in public affairs?  Will this mean teams doing more for less, or an exciting business opportunity for agency? Or perhaps it is an opportunity to really show your worth at Board level on the in-house side?

Aside from the wider economic issues, there is a collective holding of breath for the overdue Government consultation into regulation of the industry. Unfortunately this has not been the case in terms of hot air which has not abated on the blogs, forums and the bars of Westminster on this topic.  While many have an opinion, and let’s face it that is the business the sector is in, a consensus is far from reached.

I for one will be eagerly awaiting any light that the VMA Group UK Public Affairs 2012 survey will be shed on practitioners perceptions of industry regulation and reputation.

Watch this space.

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