APPC Code of Conduct
This Code of Conduct covers the activities of regulated political practitioners (defined as APPC member organisations and their political practitioners) in relation to all UK institutions of Government. This Code applies equally to all clients, whether or not fee-paying.
It is a condition of membership of APPC that the member organisation and its political practitioners will accept and agree to abide by this Code and that member organisations will be jointly and severally liable for the actions of their political practitioners in relation to the Code. Regulated political practitioners are required to endorse the Code and to adopt and observe the principles and duties set out in it in relation to their business dealings with clients and with institutions of government.
Other conditions of membership of APPC include:
- Being bound by the terms of the APPC Complaints & Disciplinary Rules & Procedures
- Providing four times a year to APPC the names of all relevant clients and political practitioners during the previous three months for publication in the APPC Register
- Undertaking an annual compliance procedure in respect of the Code of Conduct
- Including APPC Code compliance in practitioners’ contracts, be they of employment or of service
The Code of Conduct applies the principles that political practitioners should be open and transparent in their dealings with parliamentarians or representatives of institutions of government; and that there should be no financial relationship between them. APPC member organisations are determined to act at all times with the highest standards of integrity and in a professional and ethical manner reflecting the principles applied by this Code. In the view of APPC, it is inappropriate for a person to be both a legislator and a political practitioner.
“Political practitioner” means a person offering public affairs services to a client on behalf of a member organisation, or to an employer, whether that person is employed, full or part-time, or freelance or an intern, or to an employer.
“Institutions of Government” means all United Kingdom, English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland central, regional and local government bodies and agencies, public bodies and political parties.
“Public affairs services” means offering any advice, representation, research,
monitoring or administrative assistance predominantly related to UK
institutions of government.
“Member organisation” means any entity which is in membership of APPC.
THE CODE OF CONDUCT
- In pursuance of the principles in this Code, member organisations and political practitioners are required to adhere to this Code in its entirety in order to ensure that the reputation of the Association or the profession of political consultancy is not brought into disrepute.
- Member organisations and political practitioners must act with honesty towards clients and the institutions of government.
- Member organisations and political practitioners must use reasonable endeavours to satisfy themselves of the truth and accuracy of all statements made or information provided to clients or by or on behalf of clients to institutions of government.
- In making representations to the institutions of government, member organisations and political practitioners must be open in disclosing the identity of their clients and must not misrepresent their interests.
- Member organisations and political practitioners must advise clients where their activities to deliberately and intentionally interact with the institutions of government may be illegal, unethical or contrary to professional practice, and to refuse to act for a client in pursuance of any such activity.
- Member organisations and political practitioners must not make misleading, exaggerated or extravagant claims to clients about, or otherwise misrepresent, the nature or extent of their access to institutions of government or to political parties or to persons in those institutions.
- Save for entertainment and token business mementoes, political practitioners must not offer or give, or cause a client to offer or give, any financial or other incentive to any member or representative of an institution of government, whether elected, appointed or co-opted, that could be construed in any way as a bribe or solicitation of favour. Political practitioners must not accept any financial or other incentive, from whatever source, that could be construed in any way as a bribe or solicitation of favour.
- Member organisations and political practitioners must not:
- Employ any MP, MEP, Member of the House of Lords or any member of the Scottish Parliament or the National Assembly of Wales or the Northern Ireland Assembly or the Greater London Authority;
- Make any award or payment in money or in kind (including equity in a member firm) to any MP, MEP, sitting Peer or to any member of the Scottish Parliament or the National Assembly of Wales or the Northern Ireland Assembly or the Greater London Authority, or to connected persons or persons acting on their account directly or through third parties.
- Member organisations and political practitioners must ensure that they do not benefit unreasonably by actions of any third party that, if undertaken by the member organisation or political practitioner would be considered a breach of the Code.
- Member organisations and political practitioners must comply with any statute, any resolution of an institution of government and with the adopted recommendations of the Committee on Standards in Public Life in relation to payments to a political party in any part of the United Kingdom.
- Political practitioners who are also local authority councillors are prohibited from working for their member organisation on a client assignment of which the objective is to influence a decision of the local authority on which they serve. This restriction also applies to political practitioners who are members of Regional Assemblies, Regional Development Agencies or other public bodies.
- Political practitioners must keep strictly separate from their duties and activities as political practitioners any personal activity or involvement on behalf of a political party, including as an office holder or candidate for office.
- Political practitioners must abide by the rules and conventions for the obtaining, distribution and release of documents published by institutions of government
- Political practitioners must not hold any pass conferring entitlement to access to the Palace of Westminster, to the premises of the Scottish Parliament or the National Assembly of Wales or the Northern Ireland Assembly or the Greater London Authority or any department or agency of government. The only exceptions are:
- Where the relevant institution is a client of the political practitioner and requires the political practitioner to hold a pass to enter their premises.
- Where the political practitioner holds a pass as a spouse or civil partner of a member or as a former member of the relevant institution, in which case the pass must never be used whilst the practitioner is acting in a professional capacity.
- Member organisations and political practitioners must conduct themselves in accordance with the rules of any institution of government while within their precincts, and otherwise.
- Political practitioners must always abide by the internal rules on declaration and handling of interests laid down by any public body on which they serve.
- Member organisations and political practitioners must not exploit public servants or abuse the facilities of institutions of central, regional or local government within the UK.
- Member organisations must disclose the names of all their relevant clients and practitioners in the APPC Register. A member organisation providing secretariat or other services for an All-Party Parliamentary Group must list that APPG as a client, together with the name(s) of the APPG’s funder(s) and any associated organisation(s).
In all their activities and dealings, member organisations and political practitioners must be aware at all times of the importance of observing the principles and duties set out in this Code to protect and maintain their own reputation, the good name and success of their business, and the standing of the profession as a whole.