Public affairs is a term used to describe an organization’s relationship
with stakeholders. These are individuals or groups with an interest in the organization’s affairs, such as politicians (MPs, MSPs, AMs, MLAs, MEPs), civil servants, customers and local communities, clients, shareholders, trade
associations, think tanks, business
groups, charities, unions and the media. Public affairs practitioners engage stakeholders in order to explain organizational policies and views on public policy issues, assisting policy makers and legislators in amending or laying down better policy and legislation. They provide statistical and factual information and lobby on issues which could impact upon the organization’s ability to operate successfully. Public affairs work combines government relations, media communications, issue management, corporate and social responsibility, information dissemination and strategic communications advice. Practitioners aim to influence public policy, build and maintain a strong reputation and find common ground with stakeholders. There may often also be some aspects of public affairs and policy work associated with working in public relations, press and media relations and crisis communications.
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