We have gone back to the future by keeping things simple and more professional

As my year as president of the CIPR draws to a close, it's time to reflect on a busy year, and to look forward to continuing our march towards professionalism in 2015.

Stephen Waddington: CIPR president and digital and social media director at Ketchum Europe
Stephen Waddington: CIPR president and digital and social media director at Ketchum Europe

This year the CIPR has had a back-to-basics focus on its ­vision and purpose, returning the institute to its roots of professionalism as set out in our royal charter, as well as shifting the ­organisation towards being better networked and member-led.

That vision is very simply to promote professionalism in ­public relations for practitioners, and in the public interest. We have sought to align the organisation firmly with this vision in 2014 through changes to governance, operational activity, ­campaigning and thought leadership.

This focus and sense of purpose has defined priorities. It has made decision-making straightforward, ­removing emotion and informing what we do, and more importantly what we don’t.

The CIPR is very different from the organisation that I took on 12 months ago. We’ve reformed our governance to make the ­organisation more purposeful and business focused. The ­council has been slimmed down from 50 to 30 people with a board of ­directors. We’ve invested in content, policy and education, making membership more relevant to members, and have taken a firm grip on the business, overhauling the finance and IT.

We’ve sought to state a clear value proposition to members whatever the stage of their career from students to chartered PR practitioners. This continues to be a significant work in progress.

We’ve led campaigning on professional standards, equality, gender, wearables and modernisation, in the UK and beyond.
I’ve had the good fortune to benefit from the energy and focus of our new chief executive Alastair McCapra and the team ­under his leadership. I owe them all my gratitude for responding so positively to the changes that we have made.

I’d also like to thank the board and council for supporting and helping see through my modernisation agenda.

If 2014 has been a year of modernisation, 2015 must continue and consolidate this agenda. There is still much to do, and I look forward to working alongside my successors Sarah Pinch and Rob Brown in 2015.

Stephen Waddington is CIPR president and digital and social media director of Ketchum Europe

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