Platinum: Documenting the journey to professionalism in public relations

CIPR volunteers have a capacity to stop you in your tracks and push you to really think. Think about the work we do, about its relevance to society and about what being a public relations professional really means. Platinum, the CIPR’s new crowdsourced book, launches tomorrow to celebrate its seventieth anniversary and is a case in point.

As your 2018 President, I’ve had the privilege of working with Board, Council and members to set the current direction of travel during a very special 70th anniversary year. Every aspect of our work has been grounded in the Charter principles with the purpose of reasserting PR as a strategic management function and underlining the economic contribution we make.

And yet Platinum has made me reconsider what’s right, what’s next and what the future might hold.

Readers will find the rationale for founding what was then the IPR holds true today. Mutual understanding and good relations are what we strive for in daily practice.

But the Institute’s fathers, coming from local government, also had accountable leadership and social purpose at the front and centre of their work.

This higher purpose may have faded in ensuing years, leading to PR to become predominately an occupation rather than a profession, but have no doubt that we are returning to that original focus as we look to educate business and employers about the strategic value that PR offers and uphold the laws enshrined in the Royal Charter.

Business respects our contribution

The fact that Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI Director-General, has written the foreword to this book is testament to how far we have come in taking our place at the management table – and how important responsible business is in creating a world in which we all wish to live.

So what of the future? For me, the Royal Charter points the way. We must work for the public good. And as part of that professionals need to be the best they can be, with strategic, ethical and leadership skills the norm.

If you’re not yet a Chartered Practitioner, please make that your goal. If you need an incentive, of all the CIPR’s membership levels, those who are Chartered earn the most.

A hallmark of a profession is a commitment to continuous professional development (CPD) and we must encourage members, wherever they are in their career, to make this a priority.

Time served is not the equivalent of the appropriate training and qualifications, especially in an industry that evolves constantly.


The young have taken the lead

It is motivating and gives me real optimism for the future to see the determination of younger generations to occupy that sought-after strategic advisory role to management, because they understand that is how they can best add value and where the opportunity lies.

Less positive is the fact so many making a strong contribution to the CIPR and wider industry are ineligible for Fellowship because they believe CPD is no longer relevant to them when it has never been more important for us all.

Barriers to entry are another hallmark of a profession and my belief is when CPD finally becomes mandatory, we’ll have come of age. This is my wish for the CIPR as it moves into its next seventy years.

All that is left is for me to offer thanks. This thought-provoking and must-read book has been produced through the hard work, generosity and expertise of our members.

My gratitude goes to each and every contributor, Carolyn Fairbairn for her incisive foreword, Tim Traverse-Healy OBE for reminding us of what our forefathers wanted public relations to stand for and achieve and to editor and past-president Stephen Waddington whose dedication to reflection and the future of practice has resulted in this valuable contribution to the CIPR’s ongoing legacy.

Platinum launches at 8am on Wednesday 17th October. Follow #CIPR70 for updates.