CIPR President's Q3 2014 report: community engagement
It’s the end of the Q3 2014 which means it’s time for my quarterly CIPR report. This is my third report as President. I committed to reporting to the CIPR Board, Council, groups and members, in this way at the end of each quarter.
My aspiration for the CIPR in 2014 is to refocus the organisation around its vision and core purpose, as set out in our Royal Charter, as well as to shift the organisation towards being better networked and member-led.
That vision is very simply to promote professionalism in public relations for practitioners, and in the public interest.
We have sought to align the organisation firmly with this vision in 2014 through changes to governance, operational activity, campaigning and thought leadership.
The focus for Q3 has been community engagement. We have engaged with a variety of important publics, or communities, on issues facing members and the broader profession.
Choosing future leaders
The 2014 Council elections have been the first under the new regulations approved at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in June.
The changes have resulted in a remarkable reinvigoration of member participation with a record 38 candidates standing for election. More than 1,000 members took part in the elections, an uplift of 90 per cent compared with the previous year.
We want to build on this promising start and continue to increase election participation in future years.
Members: maternity package and flexible working guide
We made two important announcements for members in September.
Our new maternity package is intended to help women navigate maternity leave and then return to work confidently. It includes a break of up to 12 months from subscription fees and from having to log Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits. It includes bespoke guides to managing maternity leave and returning to work produced in association with The Talent Keeper Specialists, as well as access to an online community and support.
We also launched a Guide to Flexible Working In Public Relations and a partnership with NearDesk, a fast growing provider of hot desking and serviced office space. It’s a great piece of work that examines the business benefits of flexible working, and the pressures driving changes in practice in our business.
Academia: Bledcom and the International History of Public Relations Conference
At the International History of Public Relations conference in July we explored a brief history of the CIPR. What struck me in preparing for this event is how our vision and purpose to professionalise public relations has remained a constant throughout history. I’d urge you to read the paper if you haven’t had a chance already.
The History of Public Relations Conference was followed in short order by a keynote and panel debate at BledCom in Bled, Slovenia where we discussed the need for academics and practitioners to work together to develop a community of practice. This will be one of my primary areas of focus as Past President in 2015.
Chartered PR Practitioners
At the outset of 2014 we started to publish interviews and papers by Chartered PR Practitioners in a bid to celebrate the work of this important community and attract new applicants. These papers have inspired a book, commissioned by Kogan Page, that will be published in the first half of 2015. The manuscript has just been submitted to the publisher.
I maintain that addressing our highest award is critical to setting out our value to members and the broader profession.
Fellows: proposal for a knowledge sharing community
We returned the Palace of Westminster for the annual Fellows’ lunch in late July. Ahead of this key date in the CIPR calendar we undertook an engagement exercise with these key stakeholders. What has emerged is a highly motivated group, keen to share their knowledge and expertise.
In September the CIPR’s Council agreed to the development of a community for the Fellows to facilitate this engagement with the wider organisation. This is progressing with around a dozen fellows working on the proposition.
Regional Excellence: PRide finalists
In August we announced the finalists of the CIPR PRide Awards, the only UK-wide awards scheme that recognises excellence in public relations and communications work across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and six English regions.
Now in its 11th year, the CIPR PRide Awards grow year-on-year as consultancies and organisations increasingly recognise the benefits of awards from the PR profession’s only Chartered body, and past winners continue to reap the benefits of receiving one.
House of Commons debate: wearable technology
The CIPR hosted a Debate Group event in the House of Commons in July on the topic "Wearable technology is an ethical nightmare for the communications, marketing and PR professions."
During a lively discussion, chaired by CEO Alastair McCapra, issues of codes of conduct in public relations, data, privacy, technology and healthcare were all debated by the panel, supplemented by almost 20 contributions from the floor.
International: AMEC, Global Alliance and PRSA
We have reached international members and practitioners through numerous engagements during 2014. In addition to BledCom I spoke at the World PR Forum hosted by the Global Alliance in Madrid in Q3 and with Upload in Lisbon. The PRSA International Conference in Washington DC will follow in Q4.
We teamed with the PRSA, our counterpart organisation in the US, to host a Twitter discussion and series of roundtables as part of its September Ethics Month. We also hosted a series of events and roundtables as part of AMEC’s Measurement Week.
These activities are all important to promote best practice and engagement with international communities.
Progress on election pledges
As part of my campaign for President for 2014 I set out a series of 10 Election Pledges. I have set out progress in each of these areas in the report.
I maintain a week-by-week activity summary on Pinterest. Please check this for further information about initiatives highlighted in this report. For information about the CIPR please visit our web site and follow @CIPR_UK on Twitter for regular updates from the Institute.
As I get the opportunity to travel around the country I continue to be delighted by the energy and motivation of our volunteers from the nations, regions and sector groups. I owe them all my thanks for giving their time and energy to the CIPR.
I would also like to recognise the drive and motivation of the staff team at the CIPR in responding to the changes and the progress that we have delivered so far this year.