The CIPR is greatly saddened to learn of the death on Friday 17 December of Colin Farrington, who served as Director General first of the IPR and then of the CIPR from 1998 to 2010.
Colin was educated first at Ellesmere Port County Grammar School for Boys and then at Christ’s College, Cambridge. He made a career for himself in the civil service, and was private secretary to Home Secretaries Roy Jenkins and Merlyn Rees from 1974 to 1977. From 1988 to 1998 he was Secretary of the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation and he also served as an adviser to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development, and was a member of the World Bank’s Advisory Council on Fiscal Decentralisation before taking up his position at the then Institute of Public Relations.
Colin was appointed Director General of the Institute in 1998, and its transformation from the IPR to the CIPR through the granting of a Royal Charter in 2005 was Colin’s most enduring legacy. His close understanding of how the Privy Council Office worked and how to approach the process of securing a charter was indispensable to the Institute’s prompt success in obtaining it.
Professor Anne Gregory was President at the time the charter was granted.
Colin was in his element when liaising and negotiating at the most senior levels in Government. He had consummate skill in reading the situation and knowing just when to push forwards and hold back. He loved it: he knew how to read the lines on the page and what was being said between them. Without him, working alongside the IPR’s lawyer Michael Stewart, we wouldn’t even have got to first base in achieving the Royal Charter, never mind a successful conclusion. We owe him the hugest of debts.
As well as working for the CIPR, Colin also played a major role in the formation of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, the first global body for professional associations in the PR sector. He served as the Global Alliance’s Chair in 2007 and 2009.
In his civil service career Colin worked in Anglo-Irish relations and this remained a lifelong interest for him. During his retirement in North Wales he published a novel, Mr Churchill’s Driver, based on historical events, creating a fictional narrative about a meeting between Churchill and de Valera.