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CIPR Election: Community and confidence

I’m standing for President of the CIPR in 2014. I’ve set out ten words and ten pledges that I would focus on during my period in office.

Nominations close on 15 April and the election will take place from 7 to 21 May. You need to be a member of the CIPR to vote. The President for 2014 will be announced on 24 May.

Throughout the election period I’m going to blog about two of my words and pledges each week and answer any questions that have been raised by members.

I look forward to engaging with members and prospective members on the future of the profession.

Here goes. The first two words and pledges for this week are community and confidence.

Community

The CIPR is a membership organisation. It exists because of the contribution of members supported by the team in London.

At a time when it is easier than ever before for communities to coalesce online, membership organisations must deliver clear and measurable value to their members.

I joined the CIPR to further my career through education and learning, and to network both in my own region in the North East, and in London.

The CIPR’s roots as an organisation lie in its membership in the nations and regions. Its value is the sum of the members and the Charter. It is incredibly precious and must be celebrated, supported and nurtured.

As President I’d be faithful to that vision and purpose and actively challenge the Board and the Council – the CIPR’s governing body – to do the same in every action taken on behalf of members.

Confidence

In 2013 change is the only certainty in the public relations industry. We’re operating in a global market, as practitioners we must strive to professionalise, we must modernise as media fragments, and we must assert our business value.

My personal view is that the public relations industry has a confidence issue and yet our value to organisations has never been more apparent.

We must assert our value through action.

As President I would promote the CIPR’s leadership in the areas 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.

This is what we’ve achieve for the CIPR’s Social Media Panel. The panel’s work such as its Best Practice Guidance and Wikipedia Guidelines has a truly global reach.

Share This Too, the follow-up to Share This that I’m editing with Rob Brown, will be published simultaneously by Wiley in the UK and US.

I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved through the resourcefulness and drive of a dedicated group of committed volunteers but there is an opportunity to do more as President.

Questions and answers

Public relations educator Heather Yaxley asked me via a blog comment for my views on education and how I see this fitting into my 10 words and 10 pledges.

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.

People entering the profession should have, or quickly acquire, 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 new areas such as internal communications, 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 continuing professional development (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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Stephen Waddington

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

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