The future of public relations is integration, professionalism, scale and skills. It’s time for the CIPR and PRCA to work together for the benefit of the profession.
As part of my campaign to become President-Elect of the CIPR I’ve pledged closer cooperation with other industry bodies including AMEC, Global Alliance, ICCO, PRCA and PRSA.
As a result I’ve been asked about the relationship between the CIPR and PRCA. People want to know what I think about this and whether the fact I have a working relationship with both organisations is a conflict.
My view is this: our business is changing fast. We need cooperation on the future of the profession. We need to apply our best thinking to media change, tools and issues such as Brexit. There are times when our industry needs a united voice.
We don’t need turf wars and unnecessary competition.
You have to go back three years to find the last significant area of cooperation between the CIPR and PRCA. The two organisations published a career guide for college and school leavers about public relations. It was an excellent piece of work.
The CIPR is focused on professional standards, skills and continuous professional development for individuals. It is seeking to improve standards and use Chartered status as means of aligning our profession alongside other professions such as finance, legal and HR.
The PRCA by contrast campaigns on behalf of the profession on topics such as apprenticeships and newspaper licensing. In recent years it has broadened membership via individual members, the Government Communication Service, and an international deal with ICCO.
It is obvious that there are areas in which both organisations can work together to promote the value of PR as a management discipline and create mutual understanding.
As just one example, post Brexit I believe both should be working together to lobby the Government, as well as educate employers and the business community about how we as strategic advisers can help organisations navigate the current uncertainty.
David Hamilton, who is Chairman of the PRCA's Council and a CIPR Council member, agrees: “There are times when industry bodies need to unite for the good of all those within them. On matters that affect the health of the PR sector and where real change needs to be effected, I’d welcome closer cooperation between the PRCA and CIPR and I’m someone who volunteers with both.”
And to the question of conflict: I don’t see that there is one. As President-Elect of the CIPR I’d have its best interests at heart.
The benefit of my established working relationship with the PRCA through #FuturePRoof is that I am well placed to unite the two and engender cross-organisational working where this is of benefit.
Ultimately we have to be bigger than people and politics. It's about two organisations working together for the mutual benefit of the profession. It's about public relations.
As Alison Clarke, Principal of client advisory consultancy Alison Clarke Communications and Past President of both the CIPR and the PRCA, says: “Closer collaboration between the CIPR and PRCA on matters of mutual interest is the way forward and in the best interest of practitioners and the reputation of our profession.”
My plan would be to establish a small CIPR working party looking at areas for closer collaboration and to develop the relationship from there.
There are many opportunities and challenges facing the public relations industry. Public relations must look outwards to succeed in a market that is changing fast and rapidly globalising. Organisations and employers demand best in class skills, integration and scale. They want us to optimise value.
The time has come for our professional organisations to do the same and I’d relish the opportunity to make that happen.
This is just one way in which I believe I can help make the CIPR more relevant, sustainable and forward-looking. I’d appreciate your support in doing this.
Please vote for me as President-Elect when voting opens on Monday 12 September.