Guy Versailles, PRP, ARP, FSCRP
Iâ€™ve been listening in on the workshop on public engagement at the Transformation 2.0 conference. Previously, while researching my book, which was published in December 2019, I went through the websites of the IAP2 (International Association of Public Participation) and its Canadian branch, and to put it quite plainly, I could not find one shred of evidence to convince me that â€œPublic Engagement,â€ or â€œpublic participation,â€ are not just other labels pasted on plain, good professional public relations, to make it more appealing to some employers and clients.
Literally all the skills that are identified as required for public engagement are basic PR skills. When asked what the difference between the two are, the speaker at the conference answered that â€œone (presumably PE) is involved in making decisions.â€ I would very much want to know what senior PR managers or consultants in PR agencies, Canadian and worldwide, feel about this distinction which relegates PR to a somewhat subsidiary role under the aegis of some other consultant who would apply the same skill set and somehow be more competent to give strategic advice simply because they do â€œengagementâ€ rather than â€œrelations.â€