CIPR AGM 2014: The Times They Are A-Changing

Last night – despite the shocking weather – I attended the AGM of the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire regional group of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

After the main body of the meeting – I won’t bore you with the details thereof – Alastair McCapra, four months into his tenure as the professional body’s CEO addressed the group outlining plans for the future.

Metropolis film chartered institute of public relations (cipr)
The Steam-Driven Machines Powering The City Of Metropolis

He spoke – aided by screenshots from the 1927 film Metropolis – about the plans to streamline the decision-making process with an overhauled system of governance; decreasing the size of the council from 49 members to a maximum of 30, adopting a more two-tiered approach using the council more as representative voices of the industry than the quasi-directors they had become, and giving both student and associate members a voice at the table in Russell Square.

He also spoke about measures to increase efficiency, effectiveness and fitness for purpose within the organisation’s workforce and processes. These changes are sorely needed – frankly it’s remarkable the CIPR is in the position it is given the ‘steam-powered’ systems currently in place, McCapra said – and the plans to resolve this are extensive and wide-ranging, some having been actioned already.

Unsurprisingly, professionalism was the main focus of the address – in just half a page of my ‘very special’ shorthand the letters CPD are jotted down four times! McCapra, like President, Stephen Waddington (and indeed most active CIPR members) is dragging public relations to the fore, improving its business credibility and carving its path from craft to profession.

Education and professional development will become crucial in bringing about this change and the pursuit of both Chartered and Accredited Practitioner status will be strongly encouraged throughout the membership, from this point on becoming a requirement for board members who are not already Fellows.

The outlook of, and proposed changes to the body were seen – certainly as far as I could tell – as overwhelmingly positive, both the industry and body with it are moving in the right direction and at some pace.

Personally I am supremely confident in the present stewardship of the CIPR and look forward to seeing where it, and the industry sits come next years AGM.

Matt Silver

Corporate & Technology PR bod at Ketchum with an interest in emerging technologies, online behaviours, sustainability & social business. Fond of fine food and drink. Member of CIPR & PRCA.