The Graphic, Print & Media Alliance (GPMA) is made up of seven founding members; Fespa UK, the British Association for Print & Communciation (BAPC), British Coatings Federation (BCF), Independent Print Industries Association (IPIA), Picon, the Process & Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA), and the Rubicon network.

The BPIF is not currently signed up to the GPMA, but the federation’s chief executive Kathy Woodward said representatives would attend GPMA committee meetings and offer support where they could. However, she added that for the time being the BPIF would continue to lobby independently on the industry’s behalf.

“We already have a great lobbying infrastructure at the BPIF and that will continue. We already sit on a CBI board and the Government’s Associate Parliamentary Manufacturing Group for example,” said Woodward.

However, she added that the BPIF had not ruled out the possibility of joining the GPMA at a future date.

The GPMA is also currently in talks with other bodies and hopes to soon consist of 15 or more member organisations.

The first aim of the pan-industry consortium is to pull together detailed statistics on the industry, including information on average turnovers, number of employees and the value the sectors adds to the UK economy.

“Our long term objective is to raise the performance of the sector and we can’t do that until we know what we’re dealing with, through credible numbers,” said Peter Morris, chairman of GPMA and of Picon.

GPMA activities will include lobbying, including government lobbying and raising awareness of the threats of electronic media, the commoditisation of print, and an ageing workforce profile, and implementation of training infrastructures.

Tim Webb, executive director at Picon, said: “There are areas where we have good statistics and strong training infrastructures, but others where it’s poor. We don’t have any training schemes in Picon’s membership for example.”

He added: “Up until this point there’s been no formal way of industry trade associations talking. There are no cross-industry conversations and no cross-industry policies and we need to work to provide that.”