We don’t shout about our public affairs work because it’s a relatively new area for us to get involved in and the clients we work with often prefer discretion and in some cases, complete confidentiality.
‘Lobbying’ has a particular reputation because a very small minority of those involved do so in a way which many consider unethical. Both our directors, Colin Kelly and Emma Baker are members of the Chartered Institute Of Public Relations and are bound by its Code Of Conduct.
A key component of this means that we must always be upfront about who we are and any vested interests we may have when working with you. We also have a commitment only to take on work where we genuinely believe we can make a positive impact. We have to be clear before we begin about the aims and objectives of any activity, how we will measure its success and what our fees will be.
Our work in this area might involve running social media activity on your behalf. It could be generating ideas to raise awareness of a particular cause. Or, at a more sophisticated level, it could be using our network of contacts, our insight into the political process, and our knowledge of the media, in order to present a particular side of a story, or to represent the interests of an individual or group of people or businesses interested in bringing about some change themselves, or likely to be affected by a change proposed by someone else.
In addition to the CIPR code of conduct and ethics, we each have our own individual morals and ethics. This doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything you do and all that you stand for. Our roots in journalism taught us the importance of all sides of a story being presented, in order for a healthy, democratic society to function.
Just as a lawyer or accountant will provide their expertise to a wide variety of clients, the same is true of our approach to public affairs work. The best thing to do is get in touch. Unlike some firms with large head counts and flashy offices, at Comsteria, we’re more selective about the work we take on. As a small firm, our overheads are lower, with a small, discrete office in the Glasgow city centre, very close to Central Station.
We will conduct our work with you and any discussions relating to it in the strictest confidence. Before embarking on any work we will hold an initial free, no obligation meeting with you in order to fully understand what you require and to establish how best we can help. We will then produce a fully costed proposed programme of work which you can accept, make changes to, or reject, before we take things further. There will be no hidden charges or surprises and no ongoing commitment. We are happy to work on a per project basis, or one month or task at a time.
One piece of previous work we can tell you about is our activity in Spring/Summer 2019 relating to local content on commercial radio. The UK government and industry regulator OFCOM embarked on a strategy of deregulation which led to the loss of jobs and some parts of the country lost their own local radio presence, as studios closed, stations merged and large conglomerates replace much loved heritage brands with their own homogenous networked content. Comsteria Managing Director Colin Kelly, along with others, lobbied some of the organisations involved – the radio groups, the regulator and politicians. We supported the work of the Local Radio Group which emerged and helped ensure the issue was raised and debated in the Scottish Parliament and Westminster Parliament. Colin also appeared on the biggest industry podcast and ensured the issue of localness in commercial radio was understood and debated. Some powerful voices spoke out in favour of the campaign and although the large radio groups got their way with changes to traditional FM local radio legislation there is now a strong chance that the future of local radio will be protected and perhaps even enhanced thanks to developments in the DAB radio licensing framework which we should see more of in the new year.
One key lesson from this activity is the importance of getting in early. It was simply too late in the case of our radio work to prevent the legislation from going ahead. Some of those involved (in the industry and among the politicians) had already agreed to it before some of them really understood what it was. This happens ALL THE TIME and it’s really important you anticipate what changes COULD be becoming and take action at an early stage to ensure your views are properly represented.
If you’ve any interest or concern, please get in touch and we can discuss your needs and whether we are a good fit to work with you. If we’re not, we’ll be able to recommend someone who is.