CIPR diversity policy aims to broaden industry reach

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has launched a diversity policy for the industry. The policy aims to make PR - one of Britain's 'whiter' professions - more diverse by encouraging people from different backgrounds to join it, and to make PROs more aware of diversity issues.

It says it wants diversity 'embedded in PR activity' and recognised as a 'core resource' for the industry.

The body has pledged to 'progressively increase' diversity within its ranks of officers and organisations with which it works, and has outlined a raft of measures aimed at encouraging PROs to be more diversity-aware.

It plans to 'evaluate' the industry's diversity by commissioning research, and improve its own media relations with ethnic minority press.

Institutions such as the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), the Disability Rights Commission (DRC), Stonewall and the Equal Opportunities Commission all advised the CIPR on the development of its policy.

CIPR vice-president and chair of the CIPR's diversity group, Anne Gregory, said: 'Unless PROs embrace diversity we will be failing our employers and clients.'

The CIPR now also has a full-time public affairs officer, Fabrizio Falzarano, dedicated to working on, and raising the profile of, diversity issues.

The policy was launched last week at an event at which CRE comms director Colleen Harris spoke. Praising the CIPR for 'putting diversity on the PR map', the former press aide to Prince Charles also applauded the media's coverage of the London attacks as 'fair and balanced - so different from coverage post-9/11'.

Meanwhile DRC assistant director of comms Agnes Fletcher said: 'It's great to have a chance to celebrate the growing diversity of the PR sector (but) employers need to do much more to convince their workers they are valued and will be supported.'

Around nine per cent of Britons are from an ethnic minority. The proportion of ethnic minority PROs is far lower than this, though no authoritative figures are currently available.

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