What is a Public Affairs Consultant?
Public Affairs Consultants provide their customers with political and public policy advice using their knowledge of the political system. Although Public Affairs consultants are sometimes referred to as “lobbyists,” their job is far broader.
Public Affairs Consultants oversee challenging projects and activities for both the Public Affairs team and the Government & Industry Relations departments. They help the team in implementing, developing, and evaluating crucial components of the Public Affairs strategy by collaborating with clients and/or other Laws and Regulations department areas. This job supports the management of significant projects and programs aimed at fostering favourable perceptions among essential constituencies such as lawmakers, opinion leaders, agents, workers, customers, and consumers.
Public Affairs Consultants keep the public up to date on their client’s interests by promoting business activities, organising events, and creating publicity materials. Public Affairs Consultants also provide advice and assistance for important public policy projects and aid in the execution of numerous advocacy activities.A good Public Affairs Consultant is involved in the world and stays current on news in their clients’ industries as well as current events, trends, and developments in their own “industry.” This also entails comprehending social media and its implications. Those interested in this job role will be subjected to a background check prior to employment.
These are some of the general responsibilities that you will have as a Public Affairs Consultant:
- Monitoring, predicting, and assessing how a governmental policy will affect a company utilising information from public sources, political spies, and personal contacts
- Monitoring information sources to alert clients of any updates pertaining to their line of work
- Providing advice on possible Public Affairs issue responses that could be required
- Responding to information requests, which are frequently made quickly by phone or email
- Creating press releases, campaign materials, briefings, and newsletters
- Creating and sustaining two-way communication with pertinent government agencies
- Participating in events such as party conferences or hearings before select committees
- Providing customers with strategic counsel
- Keeping in regular touch, both verbally and in writing, with officials from local governments and regulatory agencies to inform them of the work and concerns of their constituents
- Where necessary, responding to issues (such as a hostile takeover offer)
- Maintaining connections with current clients
- Developing new business
The average salary in the UK for PR and communications jobs is £45,100. Average salary levels according to work settings are as follows: - Agency salary: £44,805, Salary in-house: £43,5, Salary for a freelancer: £56,789.
The highest paying jobs in public relations and communications are in central government, retail and wholesale, and food, beverages, and tobacco. In-house salaries are highest in the technology, finance, and utilities industries. PR and communications professionals are typically contracted to work 35 hours per week. However, the average amount of time they work per week is 45 hours.
Working hours and work location
Working hours for Public Affairs Consultants are generally consistent. Except for the party conference season in September/October, your working hours are normally more regular during legislative breaks. However, flexibility is essential because the work may be stressful. Working with deadlines requires you to put in as many hours as are required to finish the assignment. When working as A Public Affairs Consultant, your clients may be private sector businesses, nonprofits, and local or foreign governments.
What to expect
Public Affairs Consultants are well-versed not just in government affairs and the inner workings of the legislative system but also in subjects that they are passionate about and want to raise during legislative sessions. As a result, a Public Affairs Consultant must keep up to speed on the newest political, national, and global news and events, and they must frequently pay close attention to topics connected to their lobbying cause. This might involve keeping track of any breakthroughs in green energy or solar panels, or it could include being up to date on news pertaining to certain commercial interests, civil rights issues, or technical developments.
Depending on the articles dominating a given news cycle, public perception can shift practically instantly. Public Affairs Consultants, who frequently work for large organisations or private enterprises, have a vested interest in ensuring that their causes do not suffer as a result of a particularly difficult news cycle. If negative news hits, they’ll be on the front lines, attempting to refute the story, promoting their own facts, and restoring public trust.
They’ll frequently do the same thing among politicians to avoid negative publicity for their cause. Even one unfavourable news cycle in the legislative process might destroy an essential bill, tax program, or reform initiative, which can be terrible news for Public Affairs professionals. Public Affairs Consultants are armed with the knowledge they need to persuade politicians or the public to favour their issue over competing choices if they have a solid awareness of their cause and pay special attention to news about that cause.
Lobbyists, for example, would be able to easily show good statistics linked to the uptake of solar panels and other eco-friendly technology. They would use this information to advocate for new regulations that favour solar panels and reward their usage, as well as to establish public awareness campaigns encouraging consumers to advocate for the same changes. However, this procedure might be useful for almost any problem. Lobbying may have a bad image for the typical consumer, yet it is a vital method of educating, enlightening, and convincing politicians that has been used for years. Today’s Public Affairs Consultants are held to a very high ethical standard, and they deal with lawmakers who are under greater scrutiny as a result of government reforms. As a result, the public relations consultants role is expanding and becoming more well-known among the general public as an essential component of any big, expansive government at the regional or country l level.
The job of a Public Affairs Consultant requires a minimum of 3 years of experience in a political management or Public Affairs role with an emphasis on public relations, government affairs and communications. A relevant degree is desired, and the majority of graduates entering this field will need an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in a related discipline, such as:
- Public administration
- Policy studies
- Social policy
must have skills:
These are some of the skills that you will have to possess or acquire in order to become a Public Affairs Consultant:
- Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
- Experience working on projects, materials, and message development to support company priorities and public policy goals.
- Knowledge in the field of corporate public relations.
- Capacity for strategic and intellectual thought
- Knowledge of budget management
- Capacity to spot opportunities, make improvements to processes, and assist in their implementation.
- The ability for analysis and detail-orientation with the ability to recognize, prioritise, and solve issues successfully.
- Ability to work independently, achieving business goals while managing work progress and escalating problems as necessary.
- Solid business acumen.
- Previous training in the development and delivery skills.
- Capability for working in a diversified, multi-office setting
- Researching, quality assurance, and formatting abilities
- The capacity to spot discrepancies in normal work and to take remedial action within one’s own workflow.
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Excellent writing and spoken communication abilities
- Efficient customer service skills
- Subject matter competence in one or more relevant areas
- Time management skills
- Ability to multi-task and make effective decisions in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment
- Awareness of the legal holds procedure
- Prudency and the ability to keep sensitive information private
When it comes to Public Affairs Consultancy, competition is high, and you'll need political experience to establish the essential skills and relationships. This is often obtained by:
- Volunteer work or internship with a political institution
- Affiliation with a political party
- Participation in student politics and/or office in a student union
- An undergraduate internship with a Public Affairs firm
It’s critical to network as often as possible in order to connect with decision-makers, influencers, and those who lobby them. Attend debates, political seminars, and receptions, as well as party conferences, to meet crucial connections and make use of professional organisations’ membership lists.
After obtaining the relevant degree, in order to advance your chances in the Public Affairs business, you should look at available courses like the Parli-training or DODS Training. Joining a professional organisation, such as the PRCA (Public Relations and Communications Association), gives a variety of membership advantages, such as networking, information, resources, and training.
A typical career path for a Public Affairs Consultant would be from account executive to account manager, having responsibility for a small team inside the firm and a group of customers.
From here, you may advance to senior account manager, account director, and associate director, where you would supervise the consultancy’s work for a variety of customers, provide strategic direction, and increase new business.
Because public relations consultancies are often small, it is normal to switch jobs to further your career. Many consultants advance to positions as public relations managers or policy advisers in in-house Public Affairs departments. Some may transition into full-time political positions, such as working for a political party or as an adviser. Check out these companies you could work for:
- Master of Public Administration (MPA)
This is a full-time program offered at the University of the West of Scotland’s London Campus, which is located in the heart of the United Kingdom’s Public Affairs core. Students interested in a career in Public Affairs will benefit from the one-year program, which will prepare them for work in government and non-profit organisations. This course integrates social science and communication.
- BA (Hons) International Business
The University of the West of Scotland London offers this two-year, eight-month full-time degree, with students able to choose from a variety of start dates. Students at UWS London have access to industry experts, guest lecturers, and seasoned professionals throughout their studies. Because this program is offered on the London Campus, in the heart of the United Kingdom, students can participate in the UK’s Public Affairs epicentre.