Public affairs consultants provide clients with political and public policy advice that has been gained via personal contacts, political intelligence and from a wide range of media sources.
As a public affairs consultant, you’ll use your understanding of the political system to offer political and public policy advice to your clients. Clients may include private sector companies, trade associations, charities, not-for-profit organisations and overseas governments.
Types of public affairs consultancy work
Key areas of work include:
- monitoring the activities of Parliament, Whitehall and other relevant bodies and organizations
- raising the profile of an organization/client
- public relations work
- providing strategic communications advice
- providing general public affairs support.
Employers of Public Affairs Consultant
- Independent consultancies
- Large public relations firms
- Communications companies
- Small specialist consultancies
- monitor proceedings and provide analysis of activities in the Houses of Parliament, government departments, political parties, local government, pressure groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other bodies in order to keep clients informed of any developments related to their field of activity
- read parliamentary publications and printed transcripts and monitor other activities such as debates, questions, committee enquiries, statements, reports, regulations and legislation
- assist with research and draft written submissions to government consultations and select committee inquiries
- research, forecast and evaluate the effects of public policy on an organization using public sources, political intelligence and personal contacts
- write newsletters, briefings, campaign material and press releases
- attend select committee hearings, party conferences and other events
- establish and maintain two-way communication with relevant official bodies and stakeholders
- maintain regular contact, in person and in writing, with politicians, civil servants and staff in local authorities, and regulatory bodies to brief them on clients’ work and concerns
- respond to public policy threats and opportunities
- maintain relationships with existing stakeholders and develop new business
- provide media management and other publicity activities
- review the effectiveness of previous activities and how the client is viewed by political and other stakeholders.
Although this area of work is open to all graduates, the following subjects may increase your chances:
- public relations
- social policy business or management.
- a strong interest in, and enthusiasm for, politics, policy issues and current affairs
- excellent research and communication (written and oral) skills
- the ability to assimilate, analyze and summarize written material quickly
- time management skills and the ability to work to tight deadlines
- the ability to organize and prioritize your workload
- interpersonal skills
- the capacity to work on your own initiative and to relate well to colleagues, as well as clients and other contacts
- team-working skills
- excellent listening skills, as well as the ability to take an impartial view
- IT skills, as many information sources, are online and you will often have to prepare documents and PowerPoint presentations for clients and potential clients
- the ability to inspire trust and confidence in clients as they may be making commercially-sensitive decisions, based in part on your advice, and will therefore need to trust your judgement and discretion
- commercial awareness, in order to attract new business.