A year in review

As the year draws to a close, I wanted to reflect on my year as President of the CIPR, which, for the most part, has been challenging (in a good way) and enjoyable.

This year, we’ve made progress on many fronts. The membership changes are bearing fruit in creating a more modern way to advance through the membership grades. And we’ve done a root-and-branch review of our training and qualifications offer to make it relevant and fresh.

Our workshops and training have continued to grow and our groups have put on splendid events in the regions and nations, as well as for the disciplines within the profession. We aim to make the CIPR accessible wherever you are and our webinar programme, which is free to members and “worth the membership fee alone”, according to a participant, has continued to grow and flourish.

CIPR Inside for internal communicators has expanded its influence and run its most successful conference ever. The work of our Social Media Panel resulted in the best-selling business book “Share This”, a collaborative volume on all aspects of social media. The Social Media Panel also ran another hugely successful conference. We consolidated our progress on Diversity and worked with Hanson Search on a report into the challenges faced by women returners in the profession.

The Excellence awards in May this year were the “best ever”, featuring outstanding work, Olympic medallists and hopefuls. The President’s Medal went to Lord Coe – a very apt choice ahead of the success he and the team made of London 2012 during that special summer of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We’ve just finished the PRide awards for the regions and nations with, again, some superb winning campaigns of an exceptionally high standard.

Of course there have been challenges, both personal and professional. We press on with the work we’re doing on UKPAC and the Lobbyist Register, we’ve responded to high profile ethical dilemmas and media ‘stings’ and provided input to the Leveson Inquiry and a Select Committee on lobbying.

The CIPR is a unique organisation – a membership organisation, a qualification awarding body, a learned society, a commercial business and a standard bearer for the profession.

We have corporate governance requirements well beyond that of a straightforward business, with a two-tier governance structure through the Board and the 51-member-strong Council (both of which are elected), and our Royal Charter, which places, quite rightly, additional obligations on us to support and advance the profession, our members, and act in the public interest above all else.

It’s in this context that I mention the 2014 Presidential election, which will be re-run in the New Year. Through a well-meaning but ultimately misguided sequence of decisions, which we take accountability for, and which the Council of the CIPR ultimately voted against, we need to re-run the election for our President Elect next year.

On the positive side, the technical issues over the election provided time to pause, reflect and develop a package of more streamlined ways of working to consider whether we should widen the pool of eligible candidates and adapt our guidelines for candidates to take account of developments like social media.

However, I would like to end my year as President on a high note – with thanks to the staff of the Institute for their unstinting support and professionalism. Our finances have remained in good shape, despite the huge economic challenges and the team have delivered beyond expectations on many fronts.

I am proud to say that we have continued in our quest to stay current, relevant and at the cutting edge of the profession. There’s still a lot to do next year, but in the meantime may I wish you all the best for the festive season and warmest greetings for a happy and prosperous New Year.

Sally Sykes FCIPR, President of the CIPRLinkedIn iconLinkedIn icon


Notes to editors

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).

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