CIPR election: 10 words and 10 pledges for industry leadership

I fell out with the CIPR when former director general Colin Farringdon dismissed social media as a fad in 2006.

As the CIPR has modernised I’ve had a slow rehabilitation from member to CIPR Social Media Panel (2010), the Council (2011) and most recently the Board (2012).

Along the way I’ve blogged and written about the challenges that we face engaging with audiences in a two-way relationship via all forms of media and improving the reputation of the industry via professional development.

There are no easy answers or short cuts and both will take time but I believe that the CIPR is well-placed to help accelerate change.

I was vocal last year about the election for CIPR President. Following changes to the election rules I’m eligible to stand for CIPR President for 2014 – which is exactly what I am doing. The CIPR has just published my nomination statement.

If I’m elected, I will bring leadership, continuity and energy to the CIPR, ensuring that it represents both its members and the broader public relations and communication industry. To achieve this goal I commit to focusing on the following ten words and ten pledges.

  1. Community: Support, promote and celebrate the leadership of the CIPR in the regions and nations by providing a clear vision and purpose. Actively engage the Council – the CIPR’s governing body – and all its committees to represent the membership and the profession.
  2. Confidence: Assert the CIPR’s leadership nationally and internationally in areas such as diversity, social media, public affairs and internal communication, ensuring that members have a leadership voice in their relevant communities.
  3. Professional: Recognise that the public relations industry must shift from a craft to a profession by putting Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at its core. Set a roadmap to ensure that CPD is recognised and seen as a key CIPR member benefit.
  4. Excellence: Actively promote the Accredited Practitioner and Chartered Practitioner schemes as a benchmark for excellence to all members and with their employers in all sectors, charity, public and private, in-house and consultancy. Ensure that these schemes continue to resonate with employer and member needs.
  5. Relevance: Quantify the benefit of public relations to the UK economy through a research initiative to provide the industry with a confident authoritative voice. Use data to assert the role of public relations as a management discipline.
  6. Relationships: Further promote working relationships with key national and international organisations in advertising, digital, marketing and public relations. Support the work of the CIPR diversity group and actively engage with school and college students, and the wider public, about public relations as a profession that fully represents the wider community it serves.
  7. Social: Move the CIPR along the journey to becoming a social organisation, putting content and conversation at its core. Connect directly with members and the broader industry through a monthly Twitter discussion.
  8. Lobby: Seek swift resolution on the issue of the registration of lobbyists and ensure that any new statutory rules are fair and applicable to all practitioners irrespective of role.
  9. Transparency: Promote the CIPR Code and ethical standards in public relations. Ensure that the CIPR is an open and transparent organisation working in the public interest.
  10. Voice: Displace Max Clifford as the mouthpiece of the public relations industry and promote the expertise of CIPR members to the media, through social media and speaking opportunities.

During the election period I look forward to engaging face-to-face, via email and social media, to discuss and debate these issues, and others that matter to both members and prospective members.

If you’d like to join in these conversations please follow me on Twitter @wadds or via my blog at wadds.co.uk.

There has never been a more exciting time to work in public relations. Come and help make a difference.

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.


  1. Great move Wadds! Not yet seen the other candidates, but you’ll do for me, I reckon.

    Make sure you upgrade those Twitter chats in point 7 to Google+ Live Hangouts though!

    • Thanks Simon. I’ll use whatever platforms that members use for engagement. G+ is worth a testing as is LinkedIn. The challenge is the adoption rate and limitation on the number of participants.

    • Thanks Rick. Much appreciated and I’m delighted that you like point ten.

  2. Excellent points,

    I like that each point builds upon the last to shift the perceptions of the industry as a whole.

    With regards to number seven and Simon’s comment, i think Twitter is the perfect platform; if perceptions are going to be changed the industry needs transparency so others can see inward what we actually do as professionals.

    • Thanks James. I’ll use whatever platforms members use for engagement. At the moment I think that’s LinkedIn and Twitter.

  3. This is great news for the profession and will take us to a new level.

  4. Stephen – good luck with your campaign. Where do you see education, and particularly the CIPR qualifications, fitting into your 10 words/pledge manifesto?

    • Thanks for the question Heather. I believe that education is critical to shifting the industry from a craft to a profession, in terms of both basic training and continuous professional development (CPD).

      People entering the profession should have, or swiftly attain, a basic level of expertise. This is addressed by the CIPR through its foundation, advanced certificate and diploma products, and by approved university courses.

      Furthermore CIPR qualifications provide an excellent means of supporting practitioners seeking to develop their expertise in areas such as internal communication, public affairs and crisis communications.

      Practitioners operating in the industry should follow continuous professional development through to accreditation and Chartered Practitioner status. I think we need to set a roadmap for these to become a recognised member benefit.

      The CIPR has an opportunity to take its qualifications and CPD system to a much wider audience. The key to achieving this is ensuring that these schemes continue to resonate with employer and member needs.

      I recognise that there has been some debate about the Chartered Practitioner and believe that it needs to be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

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