Mandy Pearse MCIPR, newly elected CIPR Council representative, reports on the importance of ongoing learning and development to the PR profession and its customers.
The call for a focus on professionalism was loud and clear when I attended my first CIPR Council meeting last week. As we celebrate ten years of Chartered status this year, it is good news that all members of the CIPR Council are undertaking continuing professional development (CPD) no matter what their level of experience or seniority. The next step is to encourage all those who serve on the institute’s regional and sectoral committees to also commit to the CPD scheme and become or maintain Accredited Practitioner status.
The ‘State of the Profession’ survey (due to be published in February 2015) will highlight the need for public relations professionals to be seen in the same context as accountants and lawyers. This can only be achieved by ensuring both employers and clients recognise the distinction between those who are professionals recognised by the institute, who deliver professional services and are undertaking CPD and those who “do public relations”.
Would you trust someone who has done a bit of bookkeeping with your company finances? We need to make people think about why they would entrust their corporate reputation to someone who has worked briefly in the media, managed a few events or got a high number of followers on social media, but has not signed up to a code of professional conduct and continuous learning, nor attained or working towards a professional standard of practice from the relevant institute.
I was heartened to see that 2014/15 has the highest number of CIPR members to date signed up for and completing CPD. In the coming year, together with other colleagues on the Council and the Local Public Services Group, we will be encouraging even more PR practitioners to undertake CPD.
If you are a member of the CIPR and would like some assistance or advice on taking part in the CPD scheme, contact the group’s CPD lead Abha Thakor.
The CIPR Council also launched the CIPR Manifesto on the 10 February 2015 calling for the next UK government to do seven key things. I was especially pleased to see in this document the call to make all training tax deductible, which would make a real difference to supporting our independent practitioners and small PR businesses in their professional development.