LONDON — The Public Relations and Communications Association is assembling a Global Covid-19 Public Communications Taskforce, in response to the findings of a survey that found more than a third of PR professionals believe the industry was unprepared for the outbreak.

The survey – which gathered the views of around 200 PR professionals – also found that remote working policies (62%) and event cancellations (58%) are the most common responses to the crisis taken by organisations so far.

While 30% of people believed their organisations have made good progress on their communications plans as a result of Covid-19, 17% say their organisations have not yet taken any precautions whatsoever as a result of the outbreak.

The PRCA is asking experienced communications practitioners to come forward to join the taskforce, which will provide free practical support to practitioners around the world.

The organisation said it was particularly looking for senior PR professionals who were interested in the following areas: global advocacy of the need for the PR function to play a leading role in all planning, preparedness and response efforts; fast-shifting work-from-home and virtual models that PR professionals must embrace for themselves and assist other stakeholders in embracing; communicating around mental health and wellbeing in unprecedented, uncertain times; crisis-response and best-practice guidance for all communications disciplines; collecting and reporting data pertaining to Covid-19 and its impact on role of PR professionals.

PRCA director general Francis Ingham said: “The coronavirus is a human tragedy with serious implications for business and public relations. Our industry is uniquely positioned to adopt a leadership role during this time of crisis, and deliver a public good. The survey results also show our industry needs support. Our global taskforce will be specifically geared toward providing guidance, best-practice, advocacy, and support for the public relations profession over the coming months.”