CIPR President’s Q4 2014 Report: Handover

This is my final report as President of the CIPR. I committed to reporting to the CIPR Board, Council, Groups and members, in this way, at the end of each quarter.

Each quarter I have reviewed the progress against the 10 pledges that I set out as part of my original election manifesto in April 2013. Each report has had a theme reflecting the journey that we’ve been on in the past 12-months. This one is called ‘Handover’.

You can review my previous reports from 2014 on Slideshare.

Here’s the Q4 report. You can also download a copy as an Adobe PDF.

In 2014 the CIPR has had a back to basics focus on its vision and purpose, returning the organisation to its roots of professionalism as set out in our Royal Charter. We have also looked to shift the organisation towards being better networked and member-led.

Vision and values: professionalism

That vision is very simply to promote professionalism in public relations for practitioners, and in the public interest.

Professionalism is a barrier to entry in the form of foundation knowledge; a Code of Conduct that can be publically tested; continuing professional development; qualifications; and a healthy exchange between academia and practice.

Professionalism is not accepting the lack of diversity or the average gender pay gap across the profession of £12,000.

We have sought to align the organisation firmly with this vision in 2014 through changes to governance, operational activity, campaigning and thought leadership.

This focus and sense of purpose has been helpful in defining priorities. It has made decision making straightforward by removing emotion and informing what we do, and more importantly what we don’t.

Governance changes

The CIPR is a very different from the organisation that I took on 12 months ago.

We’ve reformed our governance to make the organisation more purposeful and more business focused. These changes were agreed at the Annual General Meeting and were agreed by the Privy Council on 8 October.

The Council has been slimmed down from 50 to 30 people with a board of directors. Furthermore, the governance changes have embedded the Code of Conduct more clearly in our structures.

Industry leadership

We’ve invested in content, policy and education, making membership more relevant to members, and we’ve taken a firm grip on the business, overhauling finance and IT.

We’ve sought to state a clear value proposition to members whatever the stage of their career from students to Chartered PR practitioners. Chartered Public Relations: Lessons from Expert Practitioners, an anthology of examined essays, will be published in February 2015. This continues to be a significant area of work in progress.

We’ve led campaigning on ethics, equality, professional standards, modernisation, and wearables, in the UK and beyond. We’ve hosted two industry-leading debates in the House of Commons.

Team work

I’ve had the good fortune to benefit from the energy and focus of our chief executive Alastair McCapra and the team under his leadership. I owe them my gratitude for responding so positively to the changes that we have made.

I’d also like to thank the Board and Council for supporting and helping see through my modernisation agenda.

However if 2014 has been a year of modernisation, 2015 must continue and consolidate this agenda.

As I reflect on my original ten pledges I recognise that there is still much to do.

As Past President I plan to focus on the development of a competency framework for the profession, and improve the engagement between academia and practice. To this end I have been appointed as a Visiting Professor in Practice at Newcastle University.

I look forward to working alongside my successors President Sarah Pinch and President-Elect Rob Brown in the next twelve months.

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Stephen Waddington

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


  1. Stephen, just a quick note to say thank you and well done. You have been an excellent President and I am impressed at the progress on your 10 pledges. Above all, thanks primarily to this blog, I have felt better informed this year about what is happening in CIPR than at any other time in my 16 year membership.

    • Thank you for your comment Steve. It’s very much appreciated, and it’s great to know that the work that we’ve led with the CIPR’s Board and Council in the past 12-months is appreciated by members. Please keep following my blog and let me know what you think of the content. All the best, Stephen

  2. Re: your “As Past President I plan to focus on the development of a competency framework for the profession, and improve the engagement between academia and practice. ”

    I hope you make a point of checking out the existing work that the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management has done in this area for the past few years. Why reinvent the competency framework wheel if it (globally, collaboratively) exists already?

    For example, see the (November 2011) guest post by (GA founder and past chair) Jean Valin on PR Conversations: Who has seen the future of PR? (updated) http://ow.ly/FW2uz

    • Hi Judy – Yes. I’ve met up with Prof. Anne Gregory and had a couple of calls with Jean Valin on precisely this issue. The CIPR is a member of the Global Alliance and is contributing to its broader effort to build worldwide standards, or at least consensus, around competency frameworks. Thanks, Stephen

      • Delighted to hear that (Jean Valin is a much-valued Canadian colleague and friend–have you seen the new global PR case studies book he has co-edited?)

        And of course there is the “Professional Development Wheel” developed for the GA (in line with the Melbourne Mandate) by (CIPR and PRINZ member) Catherine Arrow…

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