In My Opinion: Laura Sutherland: So, what might 2014 have in store for Scotland’s PR sector?

LAST year was a year of gearing up… for this year. It’s going to be a big 2014 in Scotland. As well as the XX Commonwealth Games, golf’s Ryder Cup and the Year of Homecoming, there is the upcoming independence referendum on September 18. In Scotland’s public relations sector, it’s an opportunity for agencies, in-house teams and clients to get involved and maximise opportunities. With the world’s media focusing on Scotland, it’s an opportunity not to be missed.

Should Scotland be an independent country, how will this change our government, taxes, benefits, businesses and economy, decision-making and much, much more?

Some say it will make Scotland a stronger country and with decisions solely being made in Scotland, it will greatly benefit those that live and work there. The ‘other side of the coin’ is about detaching Scotland from the rest of the UK. It will no longer be a United Kingdom. The nervousness comes around the lack of debates that have taken place for ‘real people’ to understand both arguments and the pros and cons of both.

Back to business, Holyrood ministers plan to bring forward legislation on the Lobbying Transparency Scotland Bill, before the next election, in 2016. Click here for information.

In response to a growing number of public affairs issues, we have formed – at the Scottish division of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations – a public affairs sub-group, feeding into the main CIPR public affairs group, which means greater representation of members across the UK but with concentrated effort in Scotland. We expect 2014 to be a busy year for the new sub-group, as momentum gathers on a number of public affairs issues.

The CIPR is strengthening its membership service in Scotland and is embarking on a new strategy; the Scotland group is out and about.

Our events now cover Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen and shortly, Dundee.

We’re working hard to reach schools and further education establishments as we recognise this audience knows little or nothing about PR as a career choice.

Our partnerships are developing too, with the Institute of Directors and Marketing Society.

Most recently, we have brought VisitScotland on board and its consumer team, along with Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, will be co-ordinating the media hub as part of the Commonwealth Games – another opportunity to jump on.

2014 is going to be an exciting year for everyone in Scotland. We shouldn’t sit back and watch; we should jump in and get involved.

Laura Sutherland is managing director of Glasgow-based Aura PR and chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Scotland group.

A version of this appeared in #PR2014, published by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.