You are here: Home / News / Public Affairs - The Art of the Possible

Public Affairs - The Art of the Possible

When thinking about Public Affairs I am often surprised by other professionals’ general lack of understanding of what it is and what it actually constitutes. For many it wreaks of intrigue, the dark arts of persuasion, corruption, bribery, brown envelopes being swapped round for secret information, special access given to nobodies who are politically well connected.

The boring truth is that public affairs is none of these things, it’s more a combination of skills that go towards creating clever slick worthy political communication campaigns combined with face to face advocacy, which assists politicians to be more aware of key issues and grounded in their decisions. In short, it can be and often is a force for good.

So through it, we find charities representing a myriad of good causes receive the profile and support they need, injustices are exposed and get the spotlight both inside and outside of Parliamentary circles and more importantly Public affairs has the ability to keep the whole political process on its toes accountable, relevant and transparent.

For me a veteran of 16 years Public Affairs represents the Art of the Possible! Because with tenacity, integrity, grit and hard work you can change the World, or rather at the very least assist politicians to do so.

Think Jamie Oliver and the Sugar Tax Campaign, Ash and the Anti-Smoking Campaign, Stonewall and the long hard fight for Civil Partnerships and gay marriages and you are talking about just a few of the many highly successful Public Affairs Campaigns which have led to a complete 360-degree change in how society operates. All for the public good. Public Affairs is the Art of the Possible and the best campaigns executed with style, heartfelt passion, drive determination introduce Big Ideas which have the ability to change all our lives.

Leading a public affairs strategy for a small organisation which has a worthy cause is challenging and fun. There are some twists and turns, so many parts of the jigsaw puzzle that you have to connect making the progress slow but very exhilarating. From the design of the Message, coaching of the spokespeople, research and develop of the arguments, presentation of these arguments to several different audiences and different stakeholders, collaborative partnership built with colleagues in your field. It can feel like a roller-coaster ride in which you are forced to make new found friends who are also concerned about your Bill,(yes it does get very personal quickly, when you’re working on a Bill you either want to change or support – it become your Bill!) White Paper or promised pledge, you end up with a multi-layered list of activities and actions points which ensure that no two days in the office are the same.

Throw in the drama of Westminster village, with its many characters and changeability, unhealthy relationship with the media and all of a sudden your quiet campaign starts to get maximum attention. Like the concluding episodes of John le carre's BBC Series The Night Manager – when the Sunday night viewers were transfixed and on the edge of their seats by the twist and turns of the adaptation, you wait with baited breath for a favourable outcome. Believe it or not, in Public Affairs, there is often a happy ending.The Good Guys do sometimes win and you are left with a tremendous feeling of satisfaction – when you actually change things for the public good.


Search Courses
Upcoming Courses