CIPR Fellows Engagement Survey


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CIPR Fellows Engagement Survey

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CIPR Fellows Engagement Survey

  2. 2.   Chartered Institute of Public Relations: Fellows’ Engagement Survey Paper 2 OUTLINE In May 2014, Fellows were asked for their views on the CIPR’s emerging policy on professionalism in public relations. A survey gained 130 responses (43 per cent), from a possible total number of 297 Fellows, and was followed by a roundtable discussion about the results. Thank you to everyone that participated in the project, particularly Kevin Taylor for leading the roundtable session, and Kevin, Chris Genasi, Sally Sykes, Flora Martin, and Philip Dewhurst, for their support in developing the survey. PROFESSIONALISM POLICY AGENDA The CIPR was founded, as the Institute of Public Relations, in 1948 with the aim of developing professional standards, education and training for the small but growing group of people who worked in public relations. A Royal Charter was granted in 2005, which codified the primary objective as the development of professional standards in the public interest. In the past 12-months, the CIPR’s direction of thinking has focused on delivering clear and enforceable professional standards in line with the organisation’s original vision and purpose. In our view, to claim to be a professional in any of the range of disciplines within public relations, a person must be: • Accountable to a Code of Conduct with meaningful and enforceable structures. • Skilled or qualified to provide the service for which they are paid. • Committed to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). This should be validated by an organisation such as the CIPR in a manner that is meaningful and accessible to the general public. The CIPR believes that wider adherence to these basic professional standards will bring better results for clients, employers and the general public. It could also address the possible future regulation of lobbying conduct by government. “Every member of our Institute, however experienced, realises that there is always something yet to be learned in pursuit of our many sided calling.” Sir Stephen Tallents KCMG CB CBE FIPR, 1949, First President of the Institute of Public Relations
  3. 3.   Chartered Institute of Public Relations: Fellows’ Engagement Survey Paper 3 ANALYSIS OF FELLOWS’ SURVEY 01 PROFESSIONALISM Should a PR professional be ethically competent and accountable to a Code of Conduct which is enforced by a third party (i.e. a professional institution) and open to the general public? Do you agree that a practicing PR professional should sign-up to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements, on an annual basis? Do you agree that a PR professional should be appropriately skilled, or qualified, for the job they do? Should a PR professional be validated in terms of experience, qualification and professional standards in a manner accessible to the public, as well as the profession, such as Accredited and Chartered PR Practitioner? There is overwhelming support for the proposal that to be considered professional, a practitioner must be accountable to a code of conduct and skilled or qualified to a level appropriate to their role, and that its validation should be more clearly expressed. That all practitioners should be committed to continuing professional development (CPD) received the support of more than half of the 130 Fellows who responded to the survey, however, a significant minority (26%) said no. More than one in ten are unsure.
  4. 4.   Chartered Institute of Public Relations: Fellows’ Engagement Survey Paper 4 ANALYSIS OF FELLOWS’ SURVEY 02 CPD A minority of Fellows are actively registering their CPD. Are you currently logging activity using the online CIPR CPD system? However, attitudes were more nuanced and, in places, positive than the initial questions revealed: I believe CPD in PR is: (please select all that apply) 03  THE MARCH TO PROFESSIONALISM Fellows were strongly divided on the question of professionalism in public relations, with a significant minority supporting the proposition, but a marginally smaller minority against. Do you regard PR, as it is currently practiced in the UK, to be a profession?
  5. 5.   Chartered Institute of Public Relations: Fellows’ Engagement Survey Paper 5 ANALYSIS OF FELLOWS’ SURVEY Views were also mixed on the attributes of professionals in general, with earlier strong support for accountability and qualification echoed by respondents. Which of the following characteristics of professionalism do you consider to be most important in any context, i.e. not only PR? (Please select all that apply) However, the expectations that Fellows have of members of their own profession are subtly different in some areas. They expected a stronger strategic business outlook and placed greater emphasis on providing objective advice. Which of the following characteristics of professionalism are specifically important to public relations? (Please select all that apply)
  6. 6.   Chartered Institute of Public Relations: Fellows’ Engagement Survey Paper 6 ANALYSIS OF FELLOWS’ SURVEY 04 ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ON THE FELLOWS’ ENGAGEMENT SURVEY Aside from the questions above, Fellows were asked to comment on whether they regarded Public Relations as a profession and if they had any further, more general comments. The results are summarised below: BARRIER TO ENTRY Unlike other professions there is no barrier to entry in public relations. CIPR Fellows identified this as a critical issue. Many felt that unless there were barriers to entry, it would not meet the definition of a ‘profession’. SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS Related to barriers to entry there is no formal requirement for a public relations practitioner to develop skills or undertake qualifications during their career. Some felt that the practice is now so demanding that professional qualifications should be taken by everyone. VALUE MISUNDERSTOOD A critical challenge facing the profession is that the value of public relations is often not understood by other professions, or the general public. There is much work to do in this area. BUILDING BLOCKS: WORK IN PROGRESS The components of a profession are all in place in the public relations business but there is work to do if we are to realise the goal. This was variously identified as body of knowledge and defined skills, narrowing the scope of disciplines that are included in public relations, greater emphasis on business outcomes, clearer ethical codes PROFESSIONAL PEERS Public relations practitioners don’t hold themselves accountable to the same standards set by other management professions. Mirroring the professional development path from other professions could be an opportunity. Particularly, the rise of HR was identified. CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CPD) AND THE CIPR PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY The CIPR Continuing Professional Development (CPD) system is well received but needs development especially with respect to senior practitioners. Experiences have been mixed. The professional journey for public relations practitioners is a work in progress. It must be defined and effectively communicated. DEFINING THE FUTURE OF THE PROFESSION The opportunity for our profession is clearly recognised and is being actively embraced by practitioners.
  7. 7.   Chartered Institute of Public Relations: Fellows’ Engagement Survey Paper 7 ANALYSIS OF FELLOWS’ SURVEY 05 ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION Kevin Taylor kindly hosted a roundtable discussion in early- July to explore some of the issue raised in the survey in more detail. Attendees included: Kevin Taylor FCIPR, Chair Peter L Walker Chartered Public Relations Practitioner, FCIPR Pamela Mounter FCIPR Sam Luckin FCIPR Martin Langford FCIPR Tony Halmos FCIPR The discussion covered the broad issues raised in the survey. A summary follows below. The need to explain the value of public relations to clients and employers was considered to be as important as the need to explain the value of professionalism to practitioners. The value of Chartered Practitioner Status to employers (at the CV sift stage, for instance) currently was seen as remote. That Chartered Status is hard to achieve was part of its value and made it aspirational, but that it was at the moment very much thought of as a personal benefit. Targeting eligible members to achieve Chartered Status and targeting information about professional standards to employers is a route the CIPR needs to consider. Further routes for the CIPR to consider would include a public relations campaign to establish the value of professional public relations among the members of other professional bodies and with Government. A two-way dialogue with other professional bodies would give the CIPR the chance to learn from their experiences, especially those who are further ahead on the journey – such as the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, which has been instrumental in establishing the professional status of Human Resources. Government, which, through the Privy Council, accorded Chartered Status to public relations, could do more to push professionalism but the CIPR needs to do more to encourage this.
  8. 8.   Chartered Institute of Public Relations: Fellows’ Engagement Survey Paper 8 WHAT’S NEXT? The CIPR will continue to develop the specific policies that will drive uptake up of professionalism. President-Elect Sarah Pinch FCIPR has set out her ambitions for 2015 as being: • to make membership more meaningful to clients and employers • to stand up for a profession confident in its high standards and able to demonstrate its value • for the Code of Conduct and our CPD system to be positioned as assets that build trust in our practice • to reach audiences beyond the public relations industry. We are also doubling our efforts to improve the relevance and promote uptake of CPD and Chartered Practitioner Status. We will do more promote ethical competence, particularly through CPD, but also through a greater degree of compliance training than we currently offer. Ultimately, our ambition, which could be summarised as moving on from being a chartered professional institution to becoming an Institution of Chartered Professionals, will likely take a generation. However the steps outlined in this paper will take us in that direction and are, I believe, consistent with the vision of the generation who founded the Institute of Public Relations. Stephen Waddington, Chartered Public Relations Practitioner, MCIPR President, CIPR Phil Morgan, MCIPR Deputy Chief Executive, CIPR July, 2014 Sarah Pinch Phil Morgan Stephen Waddington