CIPR writes to PR service companies requesting payment break for members

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has written to a number of companies which provide services to the public relations profession, requesting they consider offering flexibility on their payment schemes. The Institute has suggested introducing a three-month deferral scheme for those small businesses and freelancers who are currently struggling financially due to the coronavirus outbreak.

CIPR is also offering an exclusive offer to members via PR Agency management platform, Journolink. See details below.

Earlier this month the CIPR announced it would allow independent practitioners to request a three-month membership payment break. 

The letter, below, has been sent to media monitoring companies Kantar, Cision, and Vuelio. We have since received a response from Vuelio which, with their permission, we have published below. If there are any other organisations you would like to suggest the CIPR write to with the letter please contact our PR and Policy Manager, Jon Gerlis.


In the last two weeks, we have seen many freelancers and self-employed PR practitioners face an existential threat to their businesses due to Covid-19. The government has announced some assurances, but despite this, many independent practitioners will continue to struggle to sustain viability.    

Having flexibility during these uncertain times will make a difference to a business surviving or failing.With this in mind, I’masking whether you would consider introducing a three-month (1 April – 30 June) deferral scheme for CIPR members who can no longer afford the licensing fees.  

I appreciate that you’ll be working on your plans to counteract the negative implications this crisis has brought, and I know this decision is not something to take lightly. However, I firmly believe that many of our members, due to the nature of their work, will continue purchasing the subscription once this crisis is over, therefore hopefully guaranteeing custom for the foreseeable future. In the short-term, a deferral scheme would reduce some financial burden and give some breathing space to those who are trying to rebuild their client base.  

CIPR President, Jenni Field Chart.PR, FCIPR
This letter is not intended to "call out" any particular organisation or dismiss the importance of the services these organisations provide. Part of our mission is to support our members where we can and, at this particular time, many of our members - those who run small agencies and are self-employed - are desperate for the help. We have written to the Chancellor twice in the last week and now we are calling on companies which provide services to be flexible when it comes to their payment terms. As the letter says, this could make the difference between a business surviving or failing. We look forward to hearing from these companies and working with them where possible.
CIPR President, Jenni Field Chart.PR, FCIPR

Vuelio response

We share with the CIPR concern for the effect that COVID-19 is having on our industry. Our economy has been radically changed with every business facing disruption and having to adjust to new financial risks. The challenges faced by the PR industry go hand in hand with the need for businesses to increased communications as they manage multiple stakeholders in this rapidly changing environment. Teams across the country are under intense pressure and grappling with new ways of remote working. It makes it vital that we, as a software provider to the industry, can be relied on including by the considerable number of our clients who are NHS, Police or Emergency Service organisations. Whether workflow or stakeholder management, database research or political insights, our clients need our tools to deliver. We agree we must act to support the industry and is why, over a week ago, I announced a raft of measures including free online monitoring to front line organisations and free daily stakeholder analysis to help teams get ahead of COVID policy. This was alongside free additional functionalities to support our clients in working remotely. Alongside, I can confirm we will pause any subscription for three months held by a customer who is freelance and contacts us to confirm they are eligible for the government COVID-19 relief scheme. Finally, we will review on a case by case basis should any of our clients face financial difficulty. These are exceptional times but by the industry working together, we believe we can make a positive impact and contribute to securing our future.

Joanna Arnold, CEO Access Intelligence including Vuelio, Pulsar and ResponseSource

Cision response

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Cision UK has been working closely with our valued clients who are struggling at this time. We will continue to monitor the crisis, and evaluate the ways we can best support our clients as the situation unfolds. 

Tom Ritchie, UK Managing Director at Cision

Kantar response

At Kantar we’re dedicated to supporting our clients throughout this challenging time, delivering a continued high quality service to ensure businesses have the data and analytics to be able to react as appropriate as the media agenda continues to evolve. We are evolving our own ways of working to ensure delivery in these unprecedented times and are keeping our clients updated with regular communications, including sharing the latest data and insight from across Kantar to help brands understand the impact of the fast-changing consumer landscape. We recognise some clients face significant financial difficulty and our teams are continuing to work to ensure we’re are supporting them. Finally, we’re committed to supporting the wider industry and our local communities. We’ve created a daily email service capturing the morning’s headline news and the upcoming announcements for the following day relating to Covid-19 which can be signed up to via the Kantar Media website, and we’re working closely with a number of charities and organisations to champion their campaigns to help the vulnerable during this time.

Mark Inskip, CEO UK & Ireland, Media Division, Kantar

Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) response

We understand your concern as, like your own industry, many of the rightsholders that CLA represents are freelancers and self-employed and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak is creating unprecedented challenges for them as well. We are working closely with our licensees to support them through this very difficult time and will be asflexible as we can be on a case by case basis with any who are facing financial difficulty.

Mat Pfleger, Chief Executive CLA


JournoLink CIPR member offer

To help agencies and freelance practitioners retain clients during the coronavirus crisis, JournoLink are making their full platform available to CIPR members with up to 20 clients for just £100 a month (normal price £400 a month) for the next three months.

This would mean that an agency or practitioner with 20 clients would pay just £5 a month per client (if 20). The service includes:

  • Press release distribution
  • Analytics
  • Editorial requests
  • Newsroom for clients
  • Access to JournoLink's Events Calendar

CIPR members can find out more information on the CIPR Plus page.


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).