Public affairs consultants are often referred to as lobbyists, but their work is more wide-ranging. They use their understanding of the political system to offer political and public policy advice to their clients. Clients may include private sector companies, trade associations, charities, not-for-profit organisations and overseas governments.
Keeping abreast of political developments, in order to advise clients on a possible response, is vital to the role. Key information is sought from personal contacts, a range of media sources and political intelligence and monitoring.
Public affairs consultants identify key stakeholders in the decision-making process at national, regional and local government levels. They work to maintain relationships with these individuals and to assist clients to promote and protect their interests effectively.
The amount of time spent on the above activities varies according to the employer and level of experience required. At entry level, you will be involved in a high level of research and monitoring of information, while an account director will be principally involved in strategic planning and relationship management.