Political consulting and political management remain widely unknown professions in Germany. The public conception is often primarily limited to election campaign consulting, or to an overwhelmingly academic consultation service offered by publicly funded scientific institutions. Political consulting in Germany is strongly interwoven with political parties, associations and foundations, and is therefore strongly institutionalised and hierarchic. The demand on political consulting to be able to mediate between science and the ever-changing political practice are seldom fulfilled. The German political consulting scene is often missing the connection between the ability to analyse politically and strategic competence; necessary in order to develop realisable concepts and to enable an effective and flexible political supervision. This deficit is made all the more clear when the rapid changes in our society, above all the in field of technology, are brought to mind.
The German political consulting scene is undergoing a period of change. Influences from the USA and Brussels play a large part in this process of change. Thus, for example, the demand for individual lobbying is ever more clearly emerging, which results in an increased demand for external political consultants. Through the opening up of parties to external consulting expertise, political consultants and political managers themselves are challenged with sharpening their public profiles and with developing a joint identity as experts. Debate regarding the best minds and ideas has also brought much movement to the political consulting scene.
Political consulting in Germany is increasingly opening up new fields of activity. The spectrum reaches from election campaign and campaign consulting, political communication, Public Affairs/ lobbying, policy consulting /strategic-operative political consulting to strategic research and online political consulting. All of these fields of political consulting offer their know-how not merely to governments, parliaments, ministers and authorities, but also to industry and to civil society.
The new generation of political consultants are already aiming to break new ground. Professional, flexible, network-orientated and pro- technology are important attributes for the new generation of political consultants who view the exchange of experience and networking amongst each other as an opportunity to establish a common position for themselves, both nationally and internationally.
At the forefront of our approach is the exchange of ideas among experts, across party boarders. The acceptance of democratic principles is the central focus for those target groups addressed. Fairness, acceptance of others, openness, and the adherence to democratic rules of play create the conditions for political debate as to the best strategies and ideas. Thus, bringing democracy in Germany and Europe to the forefront is also our objective, while simultaneously expanding the participation of civil society in the political process.
The following objectives and considerations create the basis for an amalgamation of political consultants in Germany into "de'ge'pol – German Association of Political Consultants.’
- communicating a clear profile of political consulting and management to the actors in the political sphere and to the interested public;
- developing a common specialist understanding of political consulting;
- developing standards of quality and ethics;
- the professionalisation of political consulting though the exchange of ideas, cooperation and the establishment of practical opportunities for education and training;
- exchange on state of the art technologies in the area of political consulting;
- deepening the exchange with the international political consultant community;
- developing common structures in the "de'ge'pol – German Association of Political Consultants "