OPINION: The Big Question - How would you improve turnout in IPR presidential elections?

The recent election for the 2003 IPR president had a turnout of 28

per cent, up from just 17 per cent the year before. But almost

three-quarters of members still didn't feel motivated to vote



JON AARONS, President elect 2002



'We have a sophisticated electorate, unlikely to be swayed by cheap

slogans or superficial appeals. The growth in turnout is part of a

pattern as we have modernised and expanded all our activities. The great

majority of the profession lies outside the large clusters of

consultancies and in-house departments. One way to boost turnout

therefore would be to have several candidates from different backgrounds

contesting each of our elections, not just the presidency. I think the

IPR's growing visibility is encouraging more people to get involved.

Finally, we need to look seriously at online voting and webcast

hustings, which would also cut the cost of elections. I'm sure turnout

will again rise next year.'



COLIN FARRINGTON, Director-general



'To be frank, election turnout is not a major "performance indicator"

for me. I'm more interested in the proportion of members doing our

professional development scheme; or using our web-based information

services and our helplines; or working in our vocational and regional

groups. And, above all, helping us raise the number of IPR members so we

can strengthen our collective voice. Elections can help us focus on

members' concerns but we should know these anyway. Feedback I have is

that many don't vote because they don't like choosing between colleagues

whose commitment they admire and can't match.'



JOHN ASPERY, President elect 2003



'The higher turnout came about because it was well publicised, both

candidates conducted vigorous campaigns and because the IPR stresses to

regional members that they are an integral part in everything we do. I

certainly took advantage of the mailing labels to which each candidate

was entitled. The executive committee wants an even higher turnout in

next year's election. Incoming president Jon Aarons has asked me, in my

year as his deputy, to examine and co-ordinate all regional activities.

My challenge is to ensure that committees throughout the UK work more

closely with their members, their communities and colleagues in other

regions. In next year's election I hope there will be more than two

candidates - including at least one regional member. That's the way

ahead.'



STEPHEN JOLLY, Vice-president/honorary treasurer



'I fought the election on a controversial message. I pitched myself

against the forces of conservatism within the IPR and in so doing,

galvanised a substantial number of votes both for - and against - my

proposition. My campaign slogan "Support the Vanguard, not the Old

Guard" was antagonistic to some but the result was knife-edge. Some have

suggested my defeat represents the revenge of the backwoodsmen. I don't

accept that - the result gives me the confidence to believe the

no-holds-barred approach I took represents the IPR's future. To boost

turnout we need candidates who have the guts to say what they believe,

as I did. The result didn't go my way but the forces of conservatism are

in retreat. I got my message across and the IPR must pay heed to the 47

per cent of electors who supported the continuing drive for

modernisation.'



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