Opinion: Leader - Glass ceiling is IPR group's major worry

The IPR local government group gathers for its annual conference in Kent this weekend facing a series of pressing issues. As if the traditional bugbears of scarce resources and politically motivated masters are not enough, local government faces a raft of ever more acute pressures.

The communications function within local authorities is increasingly being asked to take responsibility for customer satisfaction. This is both a compliment to the calibre of people working in council PR - it is an honour rarely accorded to PROs in the private sector - and an extra banana skin they must sidestep.

Despite this apparent vote of confidence, however, the relentless refrain of local authority PROs is that the most senior management jobs within their organisations go to people from non-comms backgrounds. There is still, it seems, a glass ceiling between the PRO and the chief executive's office against which the group's members are banging their heads. One hopes the time will come when the complaint will be that all the good PROs are getting the top jobs and a fresh talent hunt needs to be launched for people to take on the PR roles.

Unmissable corporate comms event

PRWeek is proud to be associated with the first of what is expected to be a series of Business School-style seminars on major issues within corporate comms. For the inaugural event, the most crucial issue in the industry - the use of measurement and evaluation to prove the value public relations creates - has been selected, and a stellar cast of speakers lined up.

Run in conjunction with Henley Management College and the US Institute for Public Relations, the 22 October event will showcase the most up-to-date academic models for the measurement of corporate reputation. It will also draw on practical successful examples, with speakers from US corporate giants such as General Motors and FedEx. In short, it is an unmissable event for anyone in corporate PR.

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