Established in 1957, the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA) represents professionals in public relations and communication management throughout the southern African region and has registered practitioners in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa.
It is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Public Relations & Communication Management and initiated the formation of the Council for Communication Management (CCM) in South Africa. The Council is the coordinating body representing various groupings of professionals in South Africa.
PRISA plays a leading role in uniting professionals and driving transformation. As the recognised leader of the public relations and communication management profession in southern Africa and beyond, PRISA provides the southern African industry with the local professional advantage.
It has regional committees and is governed by a member-elected board and executive committee. The board establishes committees to focus on various strategic initiatives. All contact details are on contact us. It is a registered Section 21 company, governed by the Companies Act.
Continuing Professional Development
PRISA is the professional's partner throughout their careers. One of its roles is to provide continuing professional development (CPD) for its registered practitioners and students. CPD takes on various forms, including formal education and training, skills programmes, workshops, conferences, research, sharing of information through presentations, case studies, participation in awards programmes, mentoring and coaching. Click here to go to CPD schedule
Continental and Global Initiatives
The institute hosted the Federation of African Public Relations Association's (FAPRA, now known as APRA) 2006 council meetings and conference in Johannesburg.
On the global front, PRISA is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management (www.globalalliancepr.org) and hosted the World Public Relations Festival for its members in Cape Town in 2007. This event gave South African public relations and communication professionals the opportunity to showcase and benchmark their excellent work, as well as network with a global professional community.
PRISA has identified key focus areas for the future and these include ethical practice, the link between sustainable development and public relations and communication, the promotion of professional credentials and recognition of accreditation (APR) and the encouragement of creativity and innovation. Read more on why and how to join PRISA.
Through PRISA's PRISM awards, best practice is recognised. Apart from creativity, emphasis is on the research and evaluation component of the programmes/campaigns submitted.Click here to go to PRISM Information
Business, Government and Academia
In South Africa the profession is gaining recognition among business leaders for the impact it delivers on the bottom-line. Government has also recognised the professional's contribution to effective communication by upgrading the public relations and communication management posts within its departments to chief director level.
PRISA encourages the participation of academia in its programmes and activities. By ensuring that academics receive CPD points for their research dissertations, they are encouraged to grow the body of knowledge by sharing the benefits to practitioners of their research. In order to bring academia and practice closer together, articles are published and presentations are made at PRISA events.
Consulting and Standards
The industry is segmented with most large public relations consultancies being affiliated to international companies, with the remainder being smaller consultancies. Public relations, like advertising, has changed because of client pressure and is now much more bottom-line driven resulting in many firms branching into strategic communication rather than events. Some consultancies are taking an integrated communication approach whilst others have become more specialised, focusing on their core competencies, e.g. media relations.
PRISA has developed a set of standards for the consulting industry – with different measurements for small, medium and large businesses. Accreditation ratings will be based on criteria including transformation, business plans, new business, resources, client campaigns, human resources and training. The benefits of being an accredited consultancy are for both the companies and their clients. Consultancies can use their achievement as a marketing tool and clients will have recourse if something does go wrong.
The Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) pressure to transform in South Africa has resulted in many partnerships – particularly amongst the larger consultancies. The smaller companies are finding it more difficult as the money to be made in public relations is less attractive for significant BEE investors, especially those requiring 51 percent. The smaller companies are becoming more involved in training programmes and offering bursaries to facilitate transformation.
Education and Training
PRISA members work with the Sector Education and Training Authority and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) in developing and registering vocational qualifications and skills programmes. Public relations qualifications and learnerships have been registered at NQF level 4 and those for levels 5 and 6 have been submitted to the SAQA.