CIPR 'financially stable', says CEO, as results show deficit and membership fall

The chief executive of the CIPR has told PRWeek that the organisation is "financially stable, despite difficult trading circumstances early in 2015", after its annual report showed that it lost £160,000 - and more than five per cent of its paying members - in the year.

The institute published its accounts for 2015 and circulated these to members via email last week.

It shows that total membership declined from 11,125 at the start of the year to 10,337 at the end. Paying members fell from 9,443 to 8,948, with the CIPR saying that the majority of memberships lapsing in the year were "graduating students whose free membership came to an end".

A CIPR spokesman confirmed that as of Monday (27 June), members totalled 9,941.

Membership income – the single biggest element of the CIPR's revenues – actually rose by £68,000 to £1.6m, but total income fell by £231,000 to £3.9m.

While expenditure was reduced by nearly £100,000, the organisation made a total loss for the financial year of £159,936, compared with £28,329 in 2014, bringing the CIPR's total reserves down to £550,134.

CIPR boss Alastair McCapra told PRWeek: "The report shows the CIPR is financially stable, despite difficult trading circumstances early in 2015, which affected the sale of our qualifications."

He said the organisation had responded to that by reviewing its flagship diploma qualification, with a revised syllabus rolling out this autumn, and pointed to its new three-year strategic plan – provisions in which include developing closer links with employers, increasing CPD take-up, reform of its governance and closer management of its finances – and new members' magazine, Influence. The three-year plan was finalised earlier this month by directors and will be discussed at the CIPR's 19 July AGM.

He went on to say: "The CIPR has also introduced a corporate affiliate membership scheme and a new online matching service for members and potential clients called PR Finder.

"Eligible CIPR members can also now apply to become a Chartered Public Relations Practitioners (‘Chart.PR’) through a streamlined but challenging assessment structure, which has doubled the number of chartered professionals in UK PR since November. CIPR Membership continues to grow steadily with 650 new members joining in 2016 to date."

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