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Public Affairs Insights from the Centre

10 Jul 2009

Integrated management function is in vogue

Wayne Burns

Three quarters of companies in Australia manage an integrated Public Affairs function — arguably the highest rate of integration internationally.

The Centre for Corporate Public Affairs' 2009 State of Public Affairs, to be released shortly, reports that 75 per cent of Australia's largest organisations have developed an integrated public affairs management function. (Our inaugural Asia State of Public Affairs with the Public Affairs Council (US) will be released in August also).

An integrated function is one in which government affairs/relations and the communications sub-functions, and other sub-functions — such as corporate responsibility and issues management — are managed in a single business unit.

The business value of an integrated corporate public affairs function includes leveraging internal and external messages to stakeholders, consistent communications to all stakeholders, multi-stakeholder reputation management and readily multi-skilling team members.

Increasingly, developing an integrated public affairs function is seen as best practice. So much so that the Centre's affiliate, the Public Affairs Council (US), continues to encourage and champion the integrated function as best practice.

In many US companies, government relations, corporate communications and corporate responsibility/corporate citizenship are managed separately. In Europe and Asia, the integrated function is more common, but not to the degree that it is in Australia.

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The Centre for Corporate Public Affairs is the only entity of its type internationally, connecting, via corporate membership, the corporate public affairs and communication function across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. We assist our members embrace best practice public affairs structure and strategies.

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