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Q4 2015 President's Report


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This is the final quarterly report from 2015 CIPR President, Sarah Pinch, spotlighting progress towards her Presidential pledges:
- Making membership more meaningful to clients and employers
- Standing up for a profession confident in its high standards and able to demonstrate its value
- Building trust in our practice through the Code of Conduct and Continuing Professional Development
- Reaching audiences beyond the industry.

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Q4 2015 President's Report

  1. 1. Q4 2015 President’s Report PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS –
  2. 2. Introduction In this my final report, I look not just at quarter four, but also at what we have achieved across the Institute in 2015. I am indebted to my CIPR Board and Council colleagues and to Alastair McCapra and his team at Russell Square, along with every member and volunteer. This year would not have been as much of a success without your help, challenges, insights and support. In this quarter I covered over 4000 miles and visited members in Scotland, Cambridge, Belfast and London and members from the CIPR Inside, Public Affairs and Local Public Services groups. It has also been a privilege to meet so many students studying PR and I am indebted to the Universities of the West of England, Edge Hill and Birmingham City for their very warm welcomes. I have been asked many times if I would recommend standing for President. Yes, I would. My recommendations for anyone thinking about it are to talk to as many people as you can about the Institute, including those of us who are Past Presidents. Build a strong and trusted network around you, including some good friends outside of the industry to support you (and give you a sense check), don’t ever feed the trolls, realise you are chairing a board of directors for the year and be clear about process, confidentiality and decision making. But most importantly, do it because you want to serve members, stand up for the profession and enjoy the office of President and all the opportunities that affords. Sarah Pinch FCIPR at CIPR Channel Islands PR Forum, September 2015 2/ Q4 2015 President’s Report
  3. 3. Making membership more meaningful to clients and employers At the recent meetings of Board and in 2013 I was asked by the then President, Sue Wolstenholme to chair the Membership Committee, as a newly elected Board member. I was delighted to do so. Towards the end of that year, it became clear to me and Pat Gaudin, chair of the Professional Development Committee that our two groups had a lot in common, so we met as one committee – and ultimately merged into the Professional Development and Membership Committee. Through all my time involved in CIPR as a regional chair, a Board member and most recently as President we have discussed how to encourage more members to apply to become Chartered Practitioners. The single biggest stride we made in 2015 was the development of a new assessment structure to achieve this objective. The previous three stage structure, whilst challenging, was excessively demanding in terms of time and a one-day assessment process was successfully piloted in Q4, delivering nine new Chart.PRs to add to the previous total of 50 in six years. This has opened up access to many hundreds of members. I am taking part later this month and it is, we believe as a Board, only by making Chartered Practitioner normative (like Chartered Accountant, or Chartered Engineer) that we will see a paradigm shift in the recognition of the expertise and influence PR professionals bring to organisations. I am enormously grateful to my Board colleagues Lindsey Columbell and Jason MacKenzie for the work they did on this and to the founding Chartered Practitioners for their support for the changes. The contributions public relations professionals make was seen in a brilliant piece of research undertaken by the Local Public Services group, under the guidance of their chair Wendy Moran. Published in October 2015, the research involved nine focus groups across the UK and interviews with PRs, Chief Executives and other key players. Key themes identified for PRs within the sector included digital transformation, resilience and commercial awareness. The group is now working on how it can support professionals working within this sector, to continue to develop their skills – and provide support and networking opportunities. In 2015, we started our own online jobs board, created new networks for leaders and young communicators and developed a new corporate membership offering which will launch in 2016. A CIPR representative visited all of our recognised universities to promote student membership. We responded to member feedback on email communications by launching a new format and style of member email. Sarah Pinch FCIPR and Alastair McCapra (CIPR CEO) 3/ Q4 2015 President’s Report
  4. 4. Standing up for a profession confident in its high standards and able to demonstrate its value In Q4, the CIPR PRide awards came to a climax with 2157 people attending nine dinners across the UK. Among 944 entries, the shortlisted hopefuls shone out yet again providing a wealth of case studies of brilliant public relations. Thank you to all the regional and national groups for your hard work in making these events so successful, and to Cat Morgan and her events team. Across the Institute in 2015 we worked to make professional standards a bigger part of our picture by making it easier to apply for CIPR qualifications and removing the requirement to join the CIPR before enrolling on a course. We began a syllabus review of the CIPR Diploma, our main qualification and opened new teaching centre in Malaysia. The Centre for Learning now offers a Moodle site to enable online support for learners between teaching sessions and 1800 practitioners attended CIPR Training in 2015. We took two important steps that will shape our qualifications in the future – the CIPR joined the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) and commissioned a research study into future skills needs in the PR profession from Queen Margaret University. As well as this, we supported the development of a new worldwide framework of professional competences developed through the Global Alliance. We believe by making it easier for people to take our qualifications and exploring what future skills and knowledge professionals will need, more practitioners will become qualified, well respected and will demonstrate high standards and the value of public relations to organisations and clients. The Excellence Awards was a highlight for me- another opportunity to stand up for high standards, robust judging and exceptional work from right across the industry. I was delighted to see two inspirational young women, Valentina Kristensen and Bridget Aherne win Young Communicator of the Year and The CIPR and IoD PR Director of the Year awards. There were 611 entries and 687 people attended the dinner. We launched an app with all the information for the event which complements the new online platform for submission and judging of entries. Our aim was to make entering easier and to enhance the event experience and we had great feedback. I am delighted to say that, having won “Best Awards Event” at the Association Excellence Awards in 2015, Excellence is again a finalist in 2016. CIPR Code of Conduct 4/ Q4 2015 President’s Report
  5. 5. Building trust in our practice through the Code of Conduct and Continuing Professional Development Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Ethics came together in a big way in 2015. A record number of members completed their CPD in February 2015 (1600) and we successfully ran, with support from our Groups, a “#SummerOfCPD” campaign, significantly boosting early- year CPD engagement. Ethics became a compulsory part of the CPD cycle, with members required to log a minimum of five points through a related activity. To support this, we launched an online ethics module, held roundtable discussions on the subject across the UK and participated in Ethics Month in September. We also published new guidance on a range of issues including public affairs, paid media, using statistics, and social media and the law. Thank you to those groups who ran special ethics events, I hope to see more of those in 2016. Members can also now benefit from access to an “ethics hotline” for the first time. We launched the UK Lobbying Register, following the closure of the UK Public Affairs Council, writing to all MPs and Peers with a leaflet setting out professional standards for lobbyists. The CIPR held a popular series of Social Short events throughout the year focussing on paid media, storytelling, using social in a crisis and working with social talent. We also supported the development of a new ‘Community of Practice’, bringing together practitioners and academics in pubic relations. 5/ Q4 2015 President’s Report
  6. 6. Reaching audiences beyond the industry Speaking to the world beyond PR is a central part of the role of the Institute. We must build the reputation of public relations as a strategic management discipline and generate employer demand for the professionalism our members stand for. Taking part in the Society of Editors Conference and also hosting a workshop at The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations have been important elements of this work in 2015. We also have a role in shaping the operating environment and it was this in mind when, in Q4, the CIPR challenged the Newspaper Licencing Agency to develop a new, simple form of licence for small businesses. In 2015 the CIPR took a step into the future of corporate governance by producing our first Integrated Report for the 2015 Annual General Meeting. The Report serves as a guide for members who want to help clients and employers move towards this new and challenging way of presenting the overall value of an organisation. It has been very well received by members and the IR community. The process of producing the report was itself highly instructive for both staff and senior volunteers and in December, I was honoured to present one of the Institute’s highest honours, the award of an Honorary Fellowship, to Professor Mervyn King, the founder of Integrated Reporting. The CIPR supported several other conferences hosted by stakeholder organisations including the Festival of Marketing. We were also a partner of Social Media Week and took part in the FutureComms conference, which was an interesting experience! I am especially delighted that – together with our Public Affairs and Corporate & Financial Groups, CIPR supported the national Debating Matters competition, organised by the Institute of Ideas. Any member can offer to join the judging panel and I would encourage you to do so. It’s thrilling and exciting to see and hear young people debate important issues. Debating Matters 2014 Finalists 6/ Q4 2015 President’s Report
  7. 7. To address some wider social problems which have a specific impact on employment in our profession, the CIPR published our Gender Pay Manifesto, based on research carried out in 2015, and also supported the national Disability Confident campaign. We also supported the cross-sector Access to the Professions initiative. I have championed the vital issue of the gender pay gap in PR and will continue to work on this issue in 2016. Finally, as way of highlighting a broader range of policy ideas, the Institute published the first ever CIPR manifesto ahead of the 2015 General Election. Postscript I remain on the Board, as Immediate Past President and am looking forward to working alongside my new Board colleagues to continue the development of the Institute and listen and respond to members; holding firm to our core purpose and Royal Charter. If there is anything you would like to discuss, please get in touch by tweeting @ms_organised or by emailing Social Media Week London, September 2015 7/ Q4 2015 President’s Report