CIPR President celebrates 2016 in open letter to Council

Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) President, Rob Brown FCIPR has published an open letter to the Institute's Council, reflecting on the organisation's performance in 2016. 

Dear Council Members,
As the end of the year approaches, I wanted to thank you for your commitment to the CIPR and take stock of what we have achieved over the last year.

Influence: Our new magazine launched in January and has been widely acclaimed for its content and design. For many years it was held to be impossible for the CIPR to publish a decent magazine. The success of the project is a tribute to the enormous commitment and dedication of the volunteers on our Editorial Board. In a matter of weeks following the publication of the debut issue, the magazine won a Highly Commended prize at the MemCom Awards and more recently, Influence secured Bronze in the Best Print category at the globally-recognised Internatonal Content Marketing Awards. The Influence website also earned recognition as the third most influential public relations website, in an analysis conducted by Lissted.

Rollout of the new Chartership Assessment: More than 100 members have become chartered this year, at assessment days in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London. It has been particularly heartening to see so many volunteer members actively promoting the new process, as well as encouraging and supporting individual colleagues as they prepare for their assessment.

Continuing rise in CPD: One of our big success stories in recent years has been building member commitment to CPD. This year, after the #SummerOfCPD campaign our CPD completions were 20% ahead of the same point last year. This is a key indicator of our progress towards professionalisation and we’re making steady progress thanks to the contributions of our Group committees.

Corporate Affiliate scheme: Although this scheme only launched in January, we now have 60 affiliates, accounting for more than 20% of all our members. This gives us an excellent basis for further development next year.

Online Joining: After many years of anticipation, we have at last taken online joining live. Half of our new joiners are now coming to us online and we expect that proportion to continue growing.

Volunteer Working Group: Under the leadership of Laura Sutherland we’ve gained a greater insight in what our volunteer members want, how they’d like to work, and what we can do to support them.

Resilience: You’ll recall that we ended last year with a significant deficit, so the challenge for this year has been to launch all of these initiatives and maintain our core activities while rebuilding our financial resilience. I am pleased to say that our forecast for the 2017 financial year indicates a small surplus at year end.

National Conference: After an absence of nearly a decade we reintroduced the CIPR National Conference. The feedback on the content was exceptional and I have already agreed with my successor Jason Mackenzie that it should take place again in 2017.

When I became President, one of the first things I did was to outline a 3-year strategic framework for the CIPR, to ensure that we had a strong sense of direction and common purpose, and could begin to start planning on a more sustained basis than we have in the recent past. At our next Council meeting you will be asked to consider the next iteration of that strategic framework, highlighting the workplan for 2017. I am pleased that our 2017 President, Jason Mackenzie, is committed to driving forward with the priorities we agreed a year ago, emphasising recruitment of new members in particular.

Those of you who have a new two-year mandate following the recent elections will be working with Jason on Council to take these plans forward. For those of you who are preparing to stand down, this is a time to reflect on what we have achieved over the past year, and to acknowledge the efforts of everyone who has played their part in fulfilling the CIPR’s mission. I’d like to say a huge thank you for your time, commitment and contribution to the CIPR in 2016 and beyond.

Best wishes,
Rob Brown FCIPR, CIPR President