CIPR seeks to calm concerns over looming financial loss

Industry body announces recovery strategy as it forecasts £700,000 shortfall.

Director general:  Colin Farrington
Director general: Colin Farrington

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations has sought to reassure members that it is business as usual following this week's shock revelation about the state of its finances.

As first reported on prweek.com/uk, the industry body is expecting to make a loss of around £700,000 in 2009.

But CIPR president Kevin Taylor told PRWeek a recovery plan had now been agreed by the executive board.

'We are looking at ways to boost our income and have a three-year plan in place,' said Taylor. 'With original cost savings and new incomes, we would hope that next year we would return to profit. At no point did we foresee a loss of that magnitude.'

The CIPR also revealed that director general Colin Farrington is due to return to work in the next few weeks, after a four-month absence owing to ill health.

More than £500,000 of the CIPR's debt arises from one-off property costs relating to its move from its St James' Square offices. As details emerged this week, Westminster City Council director of comms Alex Aiken expressed concern.

'This appears to be very serious news,' he said. 'I am writing to the CIPR for an explanation on how its affairs reached this state. It has come out of the blue and many CIPR members will be surprised.'

Cicada managing director Di Burton, a CIPR fellow, said: 'I am very concerned about the news. The CIPR is a very important body for the PR profession and it has to be seen to be exemplary. We need to have our house in order.'

The announcement follows the news that the CIPR and PRCA have agreed to work more closely together (PRWeek, 23 October). The bodies met to explore cost-savings, collaboration and co-operation, but both parties played down suggestions of a possible merger.

This week, Taylor said the financial revelations did not open the door to a merger.

 

CIPR'S STATEMENT

'Our move to Russell Square and the economic situation has had a detrimental impact on our finances and we are expected to make a loss of around £700k in 2009. More than £500k of this is due to significant but exceptional one-off property costs relating to our move from St James' Square - a move that was forced when our landlord ... served us notice to quit. The remainder of the loss is the result of a downturn in trading income in the last quarter because of the recession.'

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