CIPR writes to Belfast Telegraph in support of public sector communicators

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has written to the Belfast Telegraph in support of public sector communicators following a front page story that questioned the value of an advertised public relations role.

The article details the role at Belfast City Council will include leading the marketing campaigns for the city and managing media relations for the Council. The letter from the CIPR - sent last week - outlines the value of professional public relations and underscores the confidence the public should have from the presence of ethical, strategic, and impact-driven practitioners in Northern Ireland as evidenced by the notable percentage of Chartered practitioners and Fellows of the Institute in the region.

The letter also raises concerns that articles of this nature could damage course applications at Ulster University’s esteemed PR and Communications courses.

Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive

Public relations is more than spin and publicity. Strategically it is about fostering trust and goodwill, and promoting understanding between organisations and their various stakeholders. Within the public sector, communication serves a crucial purpose by responsibly delivering information and services, effectively communicating change, and encouraging and ensuring public engagement.

This invaluable contribution deserves our unwavering support and appreciation. This story shows a lack of understanding of PR's strategic function and fails to recognise the many responsibilities that come with serving the needs of the community and driving positive change. It also sends a worrying message that undermines PR careers and those studying PR courses or looking to make their way into the industry by suggesting they are not deserving of these salaries.

Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive
Brittany Breslin Chart.PR, Chair of CIPR Northern Ireland

Council communicators have a vital responsibility to engage the public about frontline services. This cannot be done effectively without professional public relations support. The PR community in Northern Ireland is proud of its commitment to continuous professionalism and its record of achievement and the public should be confident that roles like this will ensure services are more effective, reach the most vulnerable, and allow for crucial two-way communication between Council leaders and the public. The right person in this role will boost inward investment and grow tourism which will only serve to benefit the city and jobs.

Brittany Breslin Chart.PR, Chair of CIPR Northern Ireland

The CIPR has recently published the following guides showcasing the strategic value of public relations to organisations:


About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the world's only Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners with over 10,000 members.

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).