Sue Wolstenholme address to CIPR Excellence Awards

"Welcome to our big moment to shine! Public relations and communication people are most often and rightly hidden behind those that they have been hired by, but tonight you’re out in the open because you are the very best, indeed the shiniest in our industry.

Over 700 separate entries from 23 different countries and all four corners of the United Kingdom have been sifted, shortlisted and judged. The quality has been stunning and proves beyond all doubt that this is the most prestigious competition in public relations. To be here is to have been brilliant. Congratulations to every one of our shortlisted finalists.

This year the CIPR celebrated the 90 birthday of one of our founder members, Professor Tim Traverse-Healy. This Institute was founded by people like Tim, who had a social vision for public relations. They believed it could make the world a better place – they saw the potential in consolidating a young and emerging management discipline into a profession and laid the foundations for its future maturity.

Subsequent generations of practitioners and academics have worked through the institute to realise that vision. From the first tentative definition put forward before the inaugural IPR meeting in 1948, to the Royal Charter granted in 2005 and beyond, this Institute has done more than any other organisation to promote and develop professional standards in public relations.

Our reputation as a profession is built by the kind of achievements we are recognising tonight. When public relations truly makes a difference, not just to the client or organisation, but to the people served by those organisations, then its value shines through.

What turns that reputation into respect is the credibility of the people who work in public relations. That credibility is based on an individual commitment to be accountable for your professional standards, on the validation of your qualifications, skills and experience through the CIPR and on the further commitment you can make to continuing professional development. If you are one of those people, you are the future of this profession and you can aim to be a Chartered Practitioner – the highest individual recognition in public relations.

We can see from the parliamentary standards scandal over the weekend – I won’t call it a lobbying scandal because no lobbyists were involved – how important it is for us to demonstrate that there is a lobbying industry that operates to higher professional standards and with complete regard to transparency. Only by maintaining those high standards and by drawing more people into the ranks of membership can we fight the threat of Government regulation which would result in a lowering of standards across the board.

An event like this cannot just happen and huge efforts have been made by the CIPR staff to bring us here. I’d also like to thank the 90-strong voluntary judging team. Vast amounts of documents have been studied, analysed and sifted and because that’s not enough, the finalists have also been through their paces at face-to-face interviews to make absolutely sure that the best are chosen. 

It’s also vital that our sponsors are thanked too. They are:

  • ComRes
  • CorpComms Magazine
  • Croner
  • FOX – who have done all our printing for us this evening
  • Hiscox
  • Mediafiler – our photographers this evening
  • Newspress
  • Precise
  • PRWeek
  • Redbrand live – our AV producers this evening
  • Reputation Institute
  • Specialist Speakers
  • ST16
  • The Communication Directors’ Forum
  • Venuefixers

We are delighted that all the CIPR Partners are represented here tonight. Thank you also for your continued support.

All of the finalists are already winners so good wishes to all of you!"

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).