I got into a small Twitter conversation last week on the CIPR and PRCA codes of conduct, and whether or not there should be a common code of conduct for both bodies.

This would involve going through each code, clause by clause, finding the commonalities and the bits that only applied to each body. Lord help me, I actually started to look at both codes before stopping myself.

It would never work.

Why would you have a common code of conduct between two different bodies? That’s like having the same rules of the game for rugby league and rugby union. A common code of conduct raises the obvious question “Why not merge in to one body?”

And that definitely isn’t on the horizon.

That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be cooperation on issues such as the lobbying register, or even that there won’t one day be a CIPRCA (looking forward to those postnominals), which looks after the profession / industry for individual and corporate practitioners alike. But therein lies the problem with a merged code of conduct.

Within the CIPR, an individual takes responsibility for their own conduct, and can be sanctioned if they transgress. Within the PRCA, as the Bell Pottinger Affair has shown us, you could end up losing your job if your bosses behave unethically no matter which body you’re a member of – your career is taken out of your hands. How do you square this circle? As an individual member, how responsible am I for my bosses activities – especially if I don’t know what they’re doing?

And you thought transparency and the Charter were the big sticking points.

Update As I hit publish, I came across this by Cornelius Alexander. A different perspective.