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Questions not answered here can be addressed to [email protected]

Why has CPRFHK launched this accreditation program?
CPRFHK hopes to clarify and define the minimum standards for a reputable PR firm. This in turn will help achieve goals such as the following:

  1. Help clients easily select PR firms that can maintain ethical and business standards.
  2. Raise PR standards all over Hong Kong, while at the same time eliminating unethical industry practices.
What does accreditation guarantee to the client of the accredited PR firm?
Accreditation guarantees that the PR firm is qualified to perform basic PR tasks; that it is in compliance with the laws of Hong Kong; that it demonstrates consistent service standards for its clients; that it has a proven commitment to abide by the CPRFHK Code of Ethics; and that it can provide the services it claims to be able to provide.
Who performs the audit?
The Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency has been selected as the designated quality auditor. HKQAA, as a public body and a credible auditor, can act independently and confidentially. HKQAA is experienced in auditing ISO standards and other standards.
HKQAA was briefed in PR by the Accreditation Commission, consisting of PR firms, clients of PR firms, and legal and financial advisors of PR firms.
How difficult is it to become accredited?
Most reputable PR firms will find the process somewhat time-consuming, but not necessitating major changes in the way they operate. However, firms which do not currently follow the standard will need to correct compliances in order to receive the certificate of compliances.
How much does it cost?
Firms pay the quality auditor (HKQAA) HK$6750 for the one-day audit.
Should the firm be seriously under-prepared for the audit, requiring the auditor to come in for additional time, the firm will have to pay for an additional half-day charge. However, under normal circumstances, this additional fee will not be charged.
How can a firm maintain confidentiality from its competitors, who are the other member firms of CPRFHK ?
The firm applying for accreditation will apply directly to HKQAA, and does not need to inform CPRFHK before beginning the audit. Only when a successful audit has been completed and all compliance issues rectified will HKQAA send a letter of compliance to CPRFHK , which will then issue the accreditation seal.
Where do these standards come from?
The CPRFHK standard is structured in a similar way to ISO standards, and the content is inspired by the standard of the UK Public Relations Consultancies' Association. The local version was developed in conjunction with HKQAA after briefing and discussion with the Accreditation Commission, composed of PR firms, clients of PR firms, and legal and financial advisors. The standard was finalized after a trial audit with a member firm.
Does the standard measure ethical practices?
All firms which have been accredited have demonstrated a commitment and a process to ensure that they are abiding by the cPRf / HK Code of Ethics.
If a firm already has a code of ethics which is well-integrated into the company's practice, does it need to change to follow CPRFHK's code of ethics?
A firm can present its code of ethics or a summary of its ethical guarantees to the CPRFHK board. If it is recognized as fundamentally equivalent to CPRFHK's code, then the CPRFHK board will inform HKQAA and this can be accepted in place of the CPRFHK code.
Does the standard ensure that the firms do not represent clients with goals contrary to the HK Government, e.g. tobacco firms or gambling organizations?
CPRFHK does not restrict companies from representing clients whose business is legal in HK. However, firms which have been accredited must provide a transparent policy on their work with such clients.
Does the standard ensure that the firm will not represent two competing companies?
This assurance is part of the CPRFHK Code of Ethics. In order to become accredited, a firm must demonstrate a commitment and a process to ensure that it abides by this Code.
How can the auditors measure client relationships and quality of service, which are by their very nature unscientific?
The auditors measure whether the firm has a way to identify and correct problems. They seek concrete evidence of customer satisfaction and may have spoken with the firm's existing clients as part of the audit.
Which PR services does the standard measure?
The standard measures the ability to provide minimum PR services such as press releases, editorial, press conferences, and lining up interviews, along with those services which a firm claims to be able to provide.
What about pro bono work?
At this stage, it is not yet required by the standard that a specific amount of pro bono work be undertaken in order to meet the standard.
How can you measure creativity?
Creativity itself is not measured - rather, the auditor measures the process by which a company chooses the right tasks for the right client/project.
How does the standard measure financial practices, when HKQAA is not a financial auditor?
The applicant needs to prepare a set of (financially) audited accounts and the HKQAA will note that they are provided.
Does the standard ensure that all third-party costs will be marked up at the same rate?
CPRFHK has not set a single standard for agency markup or commission (e.g. 15% or 17.65%) which must be followed by all companies. The standard does require, however, that the firm be transparent with the client, such that the client knows and agrees to the charging method in question before incurring any expenses.
How does the standard measure management and staff capabilities?
The standard measures whether the firm has some way (not necessarily formal training programs) to ensure that the team members are experienced enough/trained enough to handle the jobs they are assigned, providing the client with the service promised.
Does the standard apply only to Hong Kong or to PR on a regional basis?
CPRFHK will not audit the quality of the other network partner firms. However, if regional services are promised in the corporate documents and guaranteed in the client contracts, the firm will have to show evidence of having carried out these programs.