Unit Title: Understanding Public Relations Work within Public AffairsUnit Credit Value: / 5
Unit Level: / Four
Unit Guided Learning Hours: / 40
Ofqual Unit Reference Number: / Y/504/0930
Unit Review Date: / 31/07/2019
Unit Sector: / 15.3 Business Management
This unit provides the learner with an understanding of the work public relations professionals undertake within public affairs. The relationship between public relations and public affairs is very close. Public affairs affect all our lives and many working within public relations have the opportunity to directly influence decision-makers. Learners will cover the roles of those working in both sectors in order to understand this relationship. Knowledge of ‘who does what and why’ within the public affairs sector is vital to those trying to influence decisions. Learners will cover the key sources of information relating to public affairs so that they can establish the background knowledge and understanding that is needed before direct lobbying initiatives are undertaken. An understanding of the processes, roles and structures of all levels of government is also crucial to effective working within this sector for public relations professionals.
Learners will cover three levels of government – local, national and international – as they relate to public relations work. Lobbying is a major aspect of working within the public affairs sector. Learners will cover the ethical requirements of lobbyists and how organisations plan their lobbying strategies.
It is expected that before the unit is delivered, the tutor will have read the Qualification Specification to ensure all conditions regarding Rules of Combination, delivery, assessment and internal quality assurance are fulfilled. Additional guidance is available below as Assessment Guidance for Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria in bold.
This unit has 4 learning outcomesLEARNING OUTCOMES / ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
The learner will: / The learner can:
- Understand the relationship between public relations and public affairs professionals
1.2. Compare the roles of public relations and public affairs professionals
1.3. Explain how public relations and public affairs professionals work together
- Be able to select key sources of public affairs information
2.2. Justify the selection of key sources of information for given public affairs scenarios
- Understand local, national and international governmental processes, roles and structures relating to public relations work
3.2. Examine, using examples, national and devolved government processes, roles and structures in relation to the work of public relations practitioners
3.3. Examine, using examples, international government processes, roles and structures in relation to the work of public relations practitioners
- Understand the process of lobbying within an ethical framework
4.2. Plan a public affairs lobbying strategy for a given public relations scenario
4.3. Justify a public affairs lobbying strategy for a given public relations scenario
Assessment should be based on well-developed real-life case studies.
Learning Outcome 1
1.1 Public affairs: definition of public affairs; reasons why organisations require and manage relationships with stakeholders, e.g. to explain organisation’s policies, provide statistical and factual information, to lobby or campaign on issues which could impact on the organisation and its service users; types of stakeholder; organisational structures and roles to manage public affairs activities; public affairs job titles, roles and responsibilities; organisational policies relating to public affairs.
1.2 Public relations: definition of public relations; reasons why organisations require and manage relationships with stakeholders, e.g. to maintain and manage the organisation’s reputation, understanding and goodwill with stakeholders and the general public, to achieve a campaign objective; types of stakeholder; organisational structures and roles to manage public relations activities; organisational policies relating to public relations.
Learning Outcome 2
Key sources of public affairs information: e.g. relevant publications, books, journals, magazines, newspapers, electronic methods (to include websites, television, radio), social media, networking, use of Hansard, use of Vacher’s Quarterly, use of the Civil Service Yearbook, green and white papers, think tank reports, Select Committee reports.
Learning Outcome 3
The political environment: political ‘pyramids’, e.g. European Union (EU), UK government, devolved national governments, local councils, parish councils.
3.1 Local government: structures of local government, relevant departments and offices, e.g. local councils, parish councils; roles and responsibilities of elected and non-elected officers and staff; how local government works and decisions are made; how lobbying works at a local level; where power lies; codes of conduct for local government.
3.2 National and devolved
Devolved government and assemblies: structure, e.g. Scottish government and parliament, Wales and Northern Ireland Assemblies; devolved or transferred powers; roles and responsibilities of elected representatives and non-elected officials; codes of conduct.
National government: structure of parliament, relevant departments and offices; roles and responsibilities of Ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs), Peers, staff and aides; other key players and influencers, e.g. Select Committee members; how government works and decisions are made; how politicians get their ideas to create new laws or change existing laws, e.g. policy units, campaigners and think tanks; how laws are created and changed (to include Public and Private Bills); where power lies; political codes of conduct, e.g. Register of Members’ Financial Interests, the Ministerial Code; effects of devolution to the EU and devolved administrations.
3.3 International government: structures of different types of parliamentary system, relevant departments and offices, e.g. EU, United Nations (UN); roles and responsibilities of elected and non-elected members, officers and aides; other key players and influencers; how governments work and decisions are made; where power lies.
Learning Outcome 4
Lobbying: definition of lobbying; reasons for working within an ethical framework; proactive and reactive reasons for lobbying within public affairs, e.g. establishing and maintaining relationships with political decision-makers, awareness of the organisation; types of communication and campaigning strategies; direct and indirect methods of lobbying; reasons for and requirements of organisational strategies relating to lobbying (campaign/communication strategies); importance of teamwork in lobbying activities; best practice in developing initiatives to identify and work with parliamentarians and their aides; importance of researching political agendas; use of non-governmental organisations within lobbying strategies; importance of the media in lobbying; importance of attending relevant events and networking, e.g. political party conferences, constituency meetings and local community events; methods of producing materials for lobbying activities, e.g. briefing notes for speeches, relevant facts and figures, case study materials, surveys and polls (methods, results and analysis).
Appropriate physical resources will be required in order to deliver and assess this unit.
Evidence of practical ability must be demonstrated.
Morris T and Goldsworthy S – Today: The Authoritative Guide to Public Relations
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) ISBN 9780230240094
Rogers R and Walters R – How Parliament Works (Longman, 2006) ISBN 9781405832557
Tench R and Yeomans L – Exploring Public Relations (Financial Times/Prentice Hall,
2006) ISBN 9780273688891
Thomas S and John S – Public Affairs in Practice: A Practical Guide to Lobbying
(PR in Practice) (Kogan Page, 2006) ISBN 9780749444723
Wilson D and Game C – Local Government in the United Kingdom (Palgrave
Macmillan, 2011) ISBN 9780230246393
Zetter L – Lobbying: The Art of Political Persuasion (Harriman House Publishing,
2008) ISBN 9781905641697
The BBC’s college of journalism
Chartered Institute of Public Relations
www.data.gov.uk Civil Service Yearbook
www.direct.gov.uk United Kingdom Government
www.niassembly.gov.uk Northern Ireland Assembly
Public Affairs Networking
Public Relations Consultants Association
They work for you
www.wales.gov.uk Welsh Assembly
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Version 1 – June 2014
© AIM Awards 2014