Ethical and professional practice complaints by PRIA members are always fully investigated. This is the responsibility of PRIA's Ethics Committee, an eight-member council of PRIA's College of Fellows.
How PRIA handles ethics complaints and enquiries
As there is no law requiring public relations practitioners to be registered, licensed or accredited – as there is for doctors, dentists, lawyers and plumbers, for example – there is no statutory penalty for misconduct or professional negligence as a public relations practitioner.
Nor, at present are there any federal or state regulations which apply specifically to public relations practice. However PRIA has a code of ethics which all members must observe and a code of practice which applies to members of PRIA’s Registered Consultancies Group.
Anyone can lodge a complaint against a member of PRIA. If you are dissatisfied with the work or behaviour of a PRIA member there are a number of steps you can take to try and resolve your concerns.
The first is to raise your concerns direct with the person you have engaged. Do this verbally first and then in writing if you are still dissatisfied.
PRIA is not able to deal with complaints about contractual or legal matters or about fees or obtaining financial restitution or compensation. The appropriate avenue for dealing with such matters is either via an alternative dispute mechanism such as a community justice centre, mediation or arbitration or through direct court action.
PRIA’s disciplinary processes are confined to making sure that members conduct themselves in accordance with the values and principles of the code of ethics or the or the Registered Consultancy code of practice. The disciplinary processes do not provide a process for conciliation or dispute resolution.
Complaints to PRIA can only consider whether a member has breached PRIA's code of ethics or the Registered Consultancy code of practice.
Complaints should be made in writing to PRIA's National Secretary. Review the procedure in the in-depth code of ethics administration procedure manual here.
What do I need to include when writing a complaint?
No particular format needs to be followed. The letter, fax or email must supply sufficient detail of the allegation or request being made, together with the name and contact details of the sender. All complaints must:
Be in writing
Include name/s of member/s or individual/s
Include name of company / organisation - address if known or at least the city or town
Provide a brief description of the incident or practice complained of, including the date or period when incident or practice took place
Include copies of any documents relevant should be attached to the letter.
Detail any prospective or ongoing tribunal or legal proceedings in relation to the matters raised
Include your full name and contact details
Complaints should be marked confidential and addressed to:
Honorary National Secretary
Public Relations Institute of Australia
Level 1, 44 Bridge Street
Sydney NSW 2000
t: (02) 9331 3346
f: (02) 9279 3888
Please note: PRIA is not able to deal with complaints against non-members