My Official Complaint against Bell Pottinger


In the light of the allegations published in The Independent newspaper on 6th December 2011, I wish to ask for the following potential breach of the PRCA Public Affairs Conduct to be investigated by the Professional Practices Committee.

I believe that the following articles of the Code may have been breached by Bell Pottinger Public Affairs (BPPA), although other breach or breaches may of course have occurred:

1.            In pursuance of the principles in this Code, political consultants are required not to act or engage in any practice or conduct in any manner detrimental to the reputation of the Association or the profession of political organisations in general.

I am concerned that the overall behaviour of BPPA may have damaged the reputation of the lobbying profession.

2.            Political consultants must act with honesty towards the institutions of government.

There is a suggestion in the article that BPPA were offering to portray their proposed client in a more favourable light than could have possibly been justified by the human rights’ record of the regime.

3.            Political consultants must use reasonable endeavours to satisfy themselves of the truth and accuracy of all statements made.

The article implies that BPPA did not take sufficient steps to establish the precise nature of the human rights’ regime in their possible client’s country.

5.            Political consultants must advise colleagues where their activities may be illegal, unethical or contrary to professional practice, and to refuse to act in pursuance of any such activity.

It is not clear that BPPA considered the possibility that the human rights’ record of their potential client was unethical or possibly illegal.


Mark Adams

6 December 2011

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