Paul Nuttall PR storm highlights importance of professional standards

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has called on PR professionals and their clients to maintain professional standards of practice at all times, following the controversy surrounding UKIP leader Paul Nuttall's Press Officer, Lynda Roughley.

Lynda Roughley offered her resignation after taking responsibility for a false claim that the UKIP leader lost personal friends in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Paul Nuttall had insisted he was unaware of the claim published on his website.

Jason MacKenzie FCIPR Found.Chart.PR, CIPR President
The professional PR practitioner doesn't deal in lies, distortion or spin. It's as simple and straightforward as that. It's also not credible for anyone, least of all a politician, to say that they don't check communications that are published in their name by their own press officers.

Part of a professional's responsibility is to ensure clear terms of engagement with clients or to establish professional procedures with employers. Clients, as well as PR professionals, must be responsible for ensuring accuracy of facts. Blameshifting and obfuscation are always unacceptable. Regardless of who was to blame on this occasion, it is evident that professional standards were not upheld.

Telling the truth - and never exaggerating facts - are prerequisites for PR professionals. These events underline the need for individuals to maintain the highest standards of professional practice. The CIPR's Code of Conduct, to which all members are individually accountable, can act as a support mechanism for professionals facing ethical dilemmas. I'd urge any member facing ethical conflicts to seek support from the CIPR.
Jason MacKenzie FCIPR Found.Chart.PR, CIPR President

CIPR members facing ethical dilemmas are encouraged to call the Institute's Ethics Hotline on 0207 631 6969.

Members undertaking Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are required to complete at least 5 points in CIPR Ethics.

Download Integrity (PDF, worth 5 CPD points) to learn more about professional ethics and the Institute's Code of Conduct.

Notes to editors

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).