It’s about Making Membership Meaningful
So I’m standing for election to the CIPR Council – the body that helps set the strategic direction of the Institute and provides the checks and balances of oversight for its elected Board and full-time staff.
In many ways, I think the CIPR is in pretty good shape. The changes it has undergone in recent years have returned it to profitability and restored its purpose. I think the developments that I introduced during my time as Treasurer and as President were significant steps on the road to profitability; but it is the work of the Presidents that followed that helped restore the purpose.
The challenge now is to ensure that purpose is recognised, to respond to competitive pressures the Institute faces, and to make the most of its point of differentiation.
The PRCA’s decision to rebrand, and to drop Consultants from its name, is the latest step on its move towards becoming almost a copycat body. Remember, just a few years ago, the PRCA was a trade association for PR agencies. There was clear blue water between the trade body (PRCA) and the individual membership body, our professional Institute, the CIPR.
That is no longer the case. The PRCA now accepts “in-house” teams into membership; it also has individual members; it has Fellows, it has a Council, it runs a regional award scheme called DARE – a name that has echoes of the CIPR’s well established PRIDE Awards. I think the loss of the clear blue water between the two organisations is a shame – but I can understand and even admire the commercial motivation that has brought the PRCA closer and closer to the CIPR model.
But only the CIPR has the Royal Charter. And only the CIPR can award Chartered status to individuals in the profession, and also approve the University degrees and courses that can create the path to Accredited and then Chartered Practitioner.
So the task facing the CIPR now, and its elected Board and Council, is to ensure that Chartered status – both of the Institute and the individuals who achieve it – is not only widely recognised but highly valued across the profession.
Because then, when someone asks me – “why should I join the CIPR?” the answer becomes simple. To get Chartered, to get respect and recognition for your skills, to get a new job, to get a promotion or win a major piece of business. To get better. Or, in the words of our President-elect Jason McKenzie: “to be hired first, paid more and promoted faster.”
So if you elect me to the CIPR Council – I promise to do my bit to ensure that the Institute, its Council, its board, its staff and its volunteers, are given the tools to get that message out to our existing and potential members, to employers, and to other professional bodies and influencers. Because if we deliver on that; we make membership meaningful both for those in the tent and for those that wish to enter.