Tough call but right call on CIPR election

If you make a mistake the best course of action is to admit your error, take corrective action and move on. It will always be difficult but the pain will be short-term and you’ll be in a stronger place long-term.

The Council of the CIPR did exactly that on Monday in calling for a fresh election for the post of President for 2014 after mistakes emerged in the election process.

The meeting on Monday was the toughest meeting that I’ve participated in during my two years on the CIPR Council. But as the CIPR’s governing body we did the right thing.

Here’s how John Owens and Matt Cartmell have reported the story for PR Week UK.

A statement follows from the CIPR’s CEO Jane Wilson below.

I want to take this opportunity now to apologise to both candidates, who put a tremendous amount of effort into their campaigns and to all members, particularly those who voted in what they believed to be a valid election. In this instance, we did not meet the high standards that our members expect of the CIPR.

At the close of nominations at noon on 24 September only one candidate had been nominated and they were informed that they stood unopposed. That evening, an appeal to consider a late nomination was submitted to me and then considered by the CIPR President. The late nomination was received and considered in good faith and flexibility on the deadline was allowed on this basis. The election then proceeded with two candidates.

In the week following the announcement of the election result, a complaint was made about the decision to allow the late nomination. In line with the CIPR’s election regulations, a report was prepared for Council about the complaint. Council voted to take action based on the late nomination and a fresh election has been called. The basis of this decision was that there is no provision in the CIPR election regulations for the deadline for nominations to be appealed and that the decision to allow the late nomination invalidated the election.

This was a tough decision for Council to make and one which they knew could cause immediate reputational damage to the CIPR and the trust in its processes and procedures. In reaching this decision, I believe that the CIPR Council has put a requirement for transparency, an adherence to our Regulations and the long-term trust of our members as their first priority.

I am sorry for the reputational damage caused to the CIPR by our original decision. Council’s action is the first step to rebuilding trust in our election process.

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Stephen Waddington

Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum. Visiting Professor in Practice, University of Newcastle. Past President, CIPR. Author #BrandVandals, Brand Anarchy, Chartered Public Relations, Share This and Share This Too.