The Trade Association Forum in partnership with the Chartered Institute for Public Relations (CIPR) are delighted to launch a new networking group for PR and PA professionals working in Trade Associations.

The TAF PR and Public Affairs Best Practice Forum (TAF PUBCOM) held its first meeting on 22nd September and agreed a remit to:

  • Provide a professional network for PR and PA staff working in trade associations
  • Support trade association PR and public affairs staff to develop their skills and professional careers, including through the provision of tailored training and development and CPD learning opportunities
  • Share best practice, discuss challenges and initiate benchmarking and research into the challenges faced by PR and public affairs in trade associations
  • Provide mentoring and support to those looking to grow and develop their career in PR and public affairs within trade associations
This is a fantastic initiative, which I am delighted to be part of. I am looking forward to developing a community of professionals and delivering a useful and engaging programme which supports our professional and personal development
Tom Reynolds
CEO of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association and Chair of the new TAF PUBCOM
We are delighted to collaborate with TAF to launch this new network to help support public relations and public affairs professionals to meet their peers working in similar organisations and learn from each other.

In times of turbulence and change, the role of trade associations to communicate with and on behalf of their members is crucial. This new initiative will help us develop and build collectively and undoubtedly be a valuable resource.
Alastair McCapra
Alastair McCapra
CIPR Chief Executive

For more information about the network please contact TAF CEO, Emily Wallace, or register for updates below:

Successful Trade Associations are built on excellent communications

There is no doubt that successful trade associations are built on excellent communications, but keeping pace with modern professional communications is an enduring and significant challenge. 

Trade associations are small organisations, almost all employ less than 100 staff, most less than 20 and many under 10. They certainly don’t have the luxury of being able to employ a fully skilled team of communications professionals. 

Instead, individuals take on multiple roles, upskilling themselves and learning on the job. Getting the balance of skills right to be able to take on, PR, public affairs, member engagement, corporate and digital communications is a constant challenge.

Their work really matters, and their communications does too. It needs to help them punch well above the size of their organisations. 

It is only through excellent communicators that associations can properly represent their sector both in the UK and abroad, and with it shape the opportunities for their members and support the growth of the UK economy too.

Their communication with regulators and policymakers is critical. It makes policy workable. Without trade associations, the Government would have a really hard job implementing policy. Not only do associations spend huge amounts of time working on the details of regulation and guidance, but they then communicate it to their members and drive compliance too.

As the voice of their industry there is a huge responsibility to be visible and be accurate, and as member led organisations, trade associations must ensure they represent their views and interests. This means they need excellent channels of communication with members and a strong feedback loop too.

Trade associations also deliver essential communications to ensure industry standards are understood and adhered to. They put in place accreditation programmes, run regular training sessions, develop routes to entry through apprenticeships and vocational learning, support continued professional development, share best practice and reward excellence. 

These communications make us all safer by protecting consumers and businesses and supporting public sector inspection regimes.

There is no doubt that investing in the skills and resources needed to have a professional communications capability is critical for associations. 

This is why TAF has teamed up with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations to work together to ensure that Associations have access to the best professional development opportunities, and why together we are looking at how to build networks and develop best practice specifically for Associations. 

If you are interested in finding out more or getting involved, we would love to hear from you. 

CIPR announce new Partnership with the Trade Association Forum

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is delighted to announce a strategic partnership with  The Trade Association Forum to support the development of networks, discussion forums and best practice guidance for all those working in communications roles in UK Trade Associations.

Trade Associations are built on good communications, often the voice of their sector, they have small teams that rely on excellent communications, with members, with their sector, with the media, regulators and policy makers.

Working together the CIPR and TAF will look to improve the training and development offer for those working in communications in trade associations. 

The partnership will also promote the importance of  investing in professional communications to support Trade Associations across all of their communications activities, from PR to member communications, to marketing and public affairs 

TAF Interim CEO Emily Wallace said: 

Trade Associations are small organisations that need to punch above their weight with their communications. I am delighted to be working with the CIPR to support TAF members to learn about the value of investing in their communications capabilities. ”

Alastair McCapra, Chief Executive of CIPR stated: 

“Trade Associations are built on good communications. Often the voice of their sector, they have small teams that rely on excellent communications, with members, with their sector, with the media, regulators and policy makers. This partnership will support members of both bodies in sharing best practice and by providing networking opportunities.


The Trade Association Forum is the association for association in the UK, representing more than 140 trade associations who in turn represent more than 135,000 businesses from all sectors of the economy.

CIPR is the world’s only Royal Chartered body for public relations professionals. We are committed to professional standards and lifelong learning, supporting careers of members and building public understanding of public relations. 

For more information please contact: 

TAF: Emily Wallace, CEO – ceo@taforum.org 

Darren Caplan is the CEO of RIA. He joined us to discuss who RIA are, what their priorities are, how TAF helps them achieve their goals, and the awards won by both RIA and Darren at the 2022 TAF Awards.

Recording from BPEx 2022

Catch up with some of the main sessions from TAF’s Best Practice Exchange Conference on Thursday 23rd June 2022:

Welcome from TAF Chair & Ministerial Keynote

The opening sessions from TAF’s Best Practice Exchange conference, featuring a welcome from TAF Chair, Gaynor Pates, and a keynote speech and Q&A from Paul Scully MP, the Minister for Small Business from BEIS.

The UK economy in 2022: challenges and opportunities for business

Martin McTague, National Chair of the FSB and Henry Aldridge, Head of Trade Associations at the CBI, discuss the economy, what it means for business and the role trade associations can play, all chaired by TAF CEO Emily Wallace.

How can Trade Associations Better Support SMEs to Grow?

Small businesses make up three fifths of the employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector, and ensuring they are well represented and supported to grow is key to delivering UK economic growth. Hear from Carlo Gibbs, Head of SME Insights and Engagement at BEIS, Paloma Sackman, Head of Leadership & Management Programmes at Be the Business and Chris Noice, the Director of Communications at the Association of Convenience Stores to discuss the issues.

Keynote speech from Seema Malhotra MP, Shadow Business Minister from the Labour Party

Seema Malhotra MP, the Shadow Business Minister from the Labour Party, addresses the TAF Best Practice Exchange Conference on the 23rd June 2022, with an introduction from Tom Bowtell, the CEO of the British Coating Federation and a TAF Board member.

Role and effectiveness of trade associations in dealing with Government

A key part of the role of a Trade Association is in representing its members to Government, policymakers and regulators. This session explores the relationship between Government and trade associations and how to build long-term impactful relationships and be the most effective representatives for your members. Speakers include: – Alex Thomas: Programme Director, Institute for Government and former Civil Servant – Nikki Da Costa: Specialist Partner at Flint Global and Former Director Of Legislative Affairs at 10 Downing Street – Alistair McCapra: Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Public Relations – Tom Bowtell: CEO, British Coatings Federation

Why focusing on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is good for business

This session will explore how Associations can drive improvements in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in their sectors. We will hear examples of how trade associations have delivered real impact and discuss the role of trade associations in promoting EDI. Speakers include: Isabella Lawson – Senior Policy Officer, RIA Jessica Levy – Director of Communications, Federation of Master Builders Mandy Rico – Head of Advisory and Inclusion, INvolve

Best Practice Exchange 2022 - presentations from the day

We have collated much of the material used by our speakers on the day to share with those who were unable to make the conference due to the travel disruption, please find a selection of content below:



Improving member value with technology change


Revenue diversification for the post-pandemic trade association

Why focusing on DEI is good for business


TAF Awards Winner Showcase - Member Engagement

Trade Association Forum and Institute of Association Leadership join forces to develop new leadership programme and resources for trade associations.

The Institute of Association Leadership and the Trade Association Forum have announced that the two organisations will be merging.

The Institute of Association Leadership is the professional community for current and future chief executives and c-suite professionals who lead within the unique environment of the membership sector.

The Trade Association Forum is the leading representative body for associations in the UK, helping associations to engage, improve and lead their sectors.

The merger will see both organisations combine their resources to form a strengthened leadership and development offer for the association sector. 

The integration of resources and collaboration around the development of a new leadership programme will start with immediate effect. 

From January 2023, the Trade Association Forum will take full responsibility for the leadership and development programmes currently delivered by both organisations. 

Simon Forrester, Director of the Institute of Association Leadership said: 

“After careful consideration by the IAL Collective, we approached the Trade Association Forum to discuss how we can work together to further support those operating in or seeking an association leadership position. We quickly realised the natural home for association leaders is within a single, stronger body dedicated to best practice in this sphere. This merger of the two organisations will deliver significant benefit to both TAF and IAL members, and further promote the development of the Compass competency framework.”

Gaynor Pates, Chair of the Trade Association Forum said:

“The Trade Association Forum exists to support the development of best practice amongst associations to enable them to champion and support businesses across all sectors of the economy. 

“We are delighted that this merger with IAL will allow for the development of a new and strengthened programme for leaders and future leaders of trade associations. 

For more information contact: 

Emily Wallace

Chief Executive, Trade Association Forum


The Trade Association Forum is delighted to announce a strategic partnership with insurance advisory specialists Partners&

As part of the partnership, the two organisations will work together to develop a programme of work exploring risks and opportunities faced by trade associations and their members.

This will include conducting primary research on attitudes and awareness of risk amongst trade associations, which will be launched later this year.

Partners& will also be designing bespoke insurance solutions for TAF members, enabling them to extend what they can offer to their own members.

Announcing the partnership, TAF Interim CEO Emily Wallace said: 

I am incredibly pleased to welcome Partners& to TAF! We really look forward to working together to help our members improve the services they provide their members and help businesses to more effectively manage risk.  I look forward to working with Partners& to assist TAF members. 

CEO of Partners&, Phil Barton commented:

 “As our name suggests, we have built our reputation on partnering with organisations to deliver mutually beneficial solutions. We have an enviable track record of working with member services organisations, and are excited at the prospect of developing bespoke schemes for TAF members.“


  • The Trade Association Forum is the association for association in the UK, representing more than 140 trade associations who in turn represent more than 130,000 businesses from all sectors of the economy.
  • Partners& is a Chartered insurance advisory business providing seamless insurance, employee benefits, risk management and claims advice to businesses and private clients. 
  • For more information please contact:
    • TAF: Emily Wallace, CEO – ceo@taforum.org
    • Partners&: Malia Brown, Marketing and Communications Director – malia.brown@partnersand.com

Introducing our new Member Spotlight series is Ellen Daniels, the Chief Executive of the British Compressed Gases Association. Ellen spoke to us about good governance and what the BCGA is prioritising for this year.

On the 7th April 2022, the Government’s long awaited ‘British Energy Security Strategy’ was published. The Strategy builds on the Prime Minister’s ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’ (published in November 2020) and the Government’s ‘Net Zero Strategy.’ 

The plan was published in light of rising global energy prices, and provoked by surging demand due to the Coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. 

The Government’s, ‘British Energy Security Strategy’ sets out plans for accelerating the deployment of wind, new nuclear, solar and hydrogen power, whilst also supporting the production of domestic oil and gas in the nearer term. The Plan outlines that this could see 95% of electricity by 2030 being low carbon. 

Central to the plan is nuclear energy. The strategy outlines the ambition to ramp up nuclear power generation to 24GW by 2050. This would represent approximately 25% of our projected electricity demand. 

Other key announcements in the plan include: 

  • Offshore wind: 
    • An ambition of up to 50GW of power produced by 2030. 
  • Onshore wind:
    • Government will be consulting on developing partnerships with a limited number of supportive communities who want to host onshore wind infrastructure in return for lower energy bills. 
  • Oil and gas: 
    • A licensing round for new North Sea oil and gas projects planned to launch in the Autumn. 
  • Heat pumps:
    • Government will run a Heat Pump Investment Accelerator Competition in 2022 worth up to £30 million to make British heat pumps. 
  • Solar: 
    • Government aims to increase the UK’s current 14GW of solar capacity to five times it’s current capacity by 2035. 
  • Low carbon hydrogen: 
    • Government aims to double their ambition of low carbon hydrogen production from 5GW to 10GW by 2030. 
  • Aims to increase number of clean jobs in the UK by: 
    • Supporting 90,000 jobs in offshore wind by 2028.
    • Supporting 10,000 jobs in solar by 2028. 
    • Supporting 12,000 jobs in the UK hydrogen industry by 2030. 

There has been criticism of the strategy from industry, with many believing that the strategy is a missed opportunity that does not help reduce the UK’s reliance on expensive imports in the short term, and fails to address the rising cost of energy bills across the United Kingdom. 

Laura Bishop, Chair of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association, commented on the strategy stating: 

“The Government’s Energy Security Strategy published today represents a missed opportunity. Instead of focusing on immediate measures to reduce dependence on expensive imported gas, including accelerating the rollout of heat pumps, the Strategy focuses on the government’s favoured electricity generating technologies, including those with long lead in times. This will do nothing to address the immediate cost of living and energy crises facing UK consumers.”

“We welcome the announcement of a new grant competition for UK heat pump manufacturing and a government information website for heat pumps, but again, this will do little in the short term to boost heat pump demand, or put the UK on course to delivering the Prime Minister’s target of 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028.”

“The GSHPA has been calling for an acceleration of the welcome measures contained in last year’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, but today’s announcements provide no additional funding for consumers wanting to switch to heat pumps, nor give any clear indication of when the legacy environmental costs on electricity bills will be removed.”

“We needed to see far greater urgency in today’s announcements, with a clear focus on reducing energy demand in the short-term. We didn’t get it.” 

Lily Frencham, CEO of the Association for Decentralised Energy commented on the Strategy stating

“Decentralised energy measures are proven, pragmatic, modern and ready to bolster the UK’s energy security and decarbonisation ambitions – we just need the political will and investment to create certainty and catch up with other European nations already using them to great effect. 

Unfortunately, the new Energy Security Strategy misses a trick by neglecting to focus on easy and established measures that can help people immediately – such as improving the efficiency of their homes. Without increased government support in these areas, it will be impossible to adequately protect consumers from continued price rises and volatility in the future.”

The UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) commented on the Strategy stating

“The government must urgently revisit the Energy Strategy, focusing more attention on measures to help households reduce their energy usage now, and on supporting cost-effective and practical low carbon energy solutions. For the 1.7 million UK households that currently use oil, renewable liquid fuels such as HVO should be prioritised as HVO immediately reduces carbon emissions by 88%. It can also be used in an existing oil boiler following a simple, low cost conversion that takes one hour and costs around £500.

“With the increasing cost and uncertainty over energy, the publication of a robust and practical plan is an important step as we look to transition away from fossil fuels to low carbon alternatives.

“But while the focus of the document looks to the infrastructure needed to meet Britain’s future energy generation and consumption, there is very little on how the government intends to help households and businesses to reduce their energy requirements NOW. Given the current situation, we think this is a very serious omission. The best energy is the energy you don’t use, so this is where the new strategy should have started.

“We are particularly concerned about off-gas grid households that use oil heating. The government has stated that 65% of these homes are in EPC Bands E to G (a much higher proportion than homes that use mains gas heating), making them some of the least energy efficient in Britain.

“The government has proposed that, from 2026, these households will be expected to install a heat pump should they need to replace their existing boiler. It makes no sense to install a heat pump in an energy inefficient building, yet that is exactly what these households will, in most cases, be forced to do. We estimate that the average cost of a heat pump, and the necessary energy efficient improvements, will be around £20,000 – which for most is completely unaffordable. Yet there is nothing in the new strategy to help these households.

“This is completely at odds with the statements in this new Energy Strategy and recent Heat and Buildings Strategy that the government is committed to choice, and to a fair transition. Where off-gas grid homes are concerned, they are doing the opposite – offering no choice and treating them extremely unfairly.

“The industry has already demonstrated the viability of an HVO solution after sponsoring the conversion and running cost of nearly 150 oil homes to the fossil-free fuel. We urge the government so support a wider rollout.”

Brian Berry, the Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has commented on the strategy stating: 

“The Energy Security Strategy completely misses the mark in tackling energy consumption in our homes. After the disappointment of the Heat and Buildings Strategy this was an opportunity for Government to implement a National Retrofit Strategy, focussing on improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s draughty and leaky homes. While the strategy does deliver 0% VAT on energy efficiency improvements to properties, a welcome move that the FMB has long been campaigning for, this only helps those with the money to pay in the first place. A broader, insulation led, retrofit strategy would have been an immediate solution to reduce energy consumption, boost the economy and importantly, help save homeowners money on their bills during a cost-of-living crisis.” 

Mike Foster, Chief Executive of the Energy and Utilities Alliance has commented on the debate surrounding on-shore wind farms stating:

“Last week, ahead of the publication of the Government’s Energy Security review, the debate in the energy world centred on whether onshore windfarms were an “eyesore” or were they “attractive”. I must admit to being ambivalent to this debate.

They are man-made structures, artificially placed in the landscape. To me they are functional, if I don’t have to see them great, but if they perform a key task for society, then so be it. Mobile phone masts are hardly pretty, but without mobile reception, the world seemingly comes to an end. And existing electricity pylons are hardly a thing of beauty but without them, we would struggle to be the developed nation we are.

So let’s call out those framing the onshore wind debate in terms of beauty. Such comments either minimise the importance of the debate (namely securing low carbon energy cheaply) or worse, it risks another bout of elitism pouring forth. If you do think such structures are attractive, great that’s your opinion, but don’t expect everyone to agree. And certainly don’t suggest that because you do, then others should, because you know best.

I sit in the realist camp. The more wind power we have the better, provided there is built in resilience for electricity supply when the wind doesn’t blow. And when there is too much wind, and supply exceeds demand, then let’s not waste the power but instead store it. This is where green hydrogen earns its place. For producers, earning a revenue stream rather than relying on constraint payments that risk getting smaller over time, is a good thing. Storing a gas, with the flexibility to use it when needed, is common sense. Using it to deal with peak energy demands, again, an obvious security of supply gain.

Imagine having local windfarms, producing green hydrogen, supplying local people with heating, hot water and cooking. All backed up by a nation-wide grid of pipes to carry the hydrogen gas to areas without local supply, or at times of local need. I can’t be the first to think of this idea can I? We could call it a national grid, or something like that. Now that’s what I call attractive.”

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