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.
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.
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.
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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