All trade associations affiliated to ICCO and their member agencies have agreed to conform to the Stockholm Charter. This document was adopted in 2003 and replaced the Rome Charter, originally adopted by ICCO in 1986. The Stockholm Charter lays out a code of professional standards that aim to define our industry. The Charter comprises the following:
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) Professional Charter
Public Relations consultancies are professional service firms that help clients influence opinions, attitudes and behaviour. Along with this influence comes responsibility to our clients, our people, our profession and society at large.
1. Objective counsel and advocacy
PR consultancies may not have interests that might compromise their role as independent consultants. They should approach their clients with objectivity in order to help the client adopt the optimum communications strategy and behaviour.
An open society, freedom of speech and a free press create the context for the profession of PR. Consultants operate within the scope of this open society. They comply with its rules and they work with clients that share the same approach.
Trust is at the heart of the relationship between a client and a PR consultancy. Information that has been provided in confidence by a client and that is not publicly known should not be shared with other parties without the consent of the client.
4. Integrity of information
PR consultancies should not knowingly mislead an audience about factual information or about the interests a client represents. Consultancies must make their best efforts to strive for accuracy.
5. Delivering promises
Consultancies must work with clients to establish clear expectations in advance about the output of their efforts. They must define specific goals and then work to deliver on their promises. Consultancies must not offer guarantees which are not supportable or which compromise the integrity of the channels of communication.
Consultancies may represent clients with conflicting interests. Work may not start for a conflicting interest without the current client first being offered the opportunity to exercise the rights under any contract between them and the consultancy.
Consultancies may refuse or accept an assignment based on the personal opinions of the firm's management or the organisation's focus.
8. Governance and Business Practices
Public relations consultancies are committed to ethical behaviour and implementation of best business practices in dealing with all audiences.
Download: Stockholm Charter (pdf)