After 18 months of a predominantly digital experience, 2022 saw the CIPR return to in-person events and seize the opportunity to be omnipresent across virtual, face-to-face, app, training, awards, conferences, paid, earned, owned and shared media.
It means the opportunity for the CIPR to connect with our industry and the wider public has never been bigger, but it means the complexity of being present and active where our stakeholders are is a big challenge. As well as being visible across multi-channels, the CIPR continues to grow its presence across multiple territories through partnerships with global teaching centres and continued increase in international members. It means we’re proud that the CIPR is associated with supporting a global audience of PR practitioners who want to learn, engage, and lead in Public Relations Practice supported by the CIPR.
The increase in the opportunities to engage with the CIPR is reflected in the growth of our membership in 2022, achieving a total increase of over 1,000 new members, together with increases in numbers of Chartered Practitioners and Corporate Affiliates.
More members means more voices advocating for the power of public relations and across 2022 we demonstrated thought leadership on a range of issues including lobbying, online safety, ethical practice, ESG and Crisis Communications. We also increased our share of voice through featuring in high profile media opportunities and collaborating with business organisations such as the Trade Association Forum and the Institute of Directors.
However, we recognise that the voices of the PR profession must be represented by PR professionals from across all communities that we serve. This year we have made an important step change to achieve this goal through beginning the process to achieve the National Equality Standard. Our aim is to ensure that the CIPR can be accessed and be represented by PR practitioners irrespective of background, and by working through the NES process we can take bigger steps and accelerate change.
There are no better advocates for the PR industry and the CIPR than our members, especially from amongst our active community of volunteers. Therefore, of all the activities undertaken by the CIPR across 2022, my personal highlight was to host our first ever Volunteer Conference. This two-day event in Leeds featured a packed agenda designed to share, support and celebrate the contributions of our PR practitioner volunteer community who fly the flag for professional practice across the UK and internationally.
Whilst digital tech is transforming the possibilities within public relations practice, these valuable opportunities to meet in the real world to make connections, share, collaborate and learn is a reminder that in the age of AI, at the cornerstone of great public relations are great human relations.
Rachel Roberts Chart.PR. MCIPR
CIPR President 2022
A five-year strategy was developed by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in consultation with its members in 2019. In 2022, we planned and executed our work for the third year, in alignment with this strategy.
This report is structured around the four key areas of work set out in that strategy.
To create a better understanding of the standards and services that public relations (PR) professionals can offer.
To ensure that our members have timely access to the most up-to-date resources to take their professional practice forward.
To create the best and most valuable community that practitioners will want to be a part of and contribute to.
In 2023, we began working on developing the next five-year strategy that will take us from 2025-2029.
To create a streamlined professional development pathway focused on Chartered Practitioner status.
The sudden death of Her Majesty The Queen shocked the world and saw the country unite during the period of mourning. In 2005, the CIPR was granted a Royal Charter- which was signed by Her Majesty in Privy Council. To show our respects, we issued a public statement offering our condolences and shared tributes to the Queen. During our Annual Conference in 2022, we also observed a two-minute silence in her honour.
CIPR tribute to HM The Queen:
“It is with deepest regret that the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) pays tribute to Her Majesty The Queen, on the announcement of her passing by Buckingham Palace.
Her Majesty has given unparalleled service to the Nation and the Commonwealth throughout her long life and reign. Not least in her role as Head of State, but also to the Armed Forces, the Church of England, through her many patronages and personal interests and as an enduring figurehead to the people of the United Kingdom. News of her passing will be met with grief and sadness by millions around the world.
The Public Relations profession was recognised through the award of a Royal Charter, signed by Her Majesty in Privy Council, in 2005.”
Our efforts are focused on engaging with employers, clients, and the wider public to enhance the understanding of the work of our members and the PR industry in general.
In 2022, we campaigned for greater transparency in lobbying, as well as championing the value of the PR profession to businesses and wider society.
Following several high-profile lobbying scandals, we launched our Lobbying for Good Lobbying (l4GL) campaign with an event in Parliament alongside MPs, journalists, and the wider lobbying industry. The L4GL campaign calls for lobbying reform to build greater transparency and openness in our democratic process.
Sam Coates (Deputy Political Editor at Sky News) chaired a debate featuring Paul Bristow MP, Duncan Hames (Director of Policy at Transparency International UK) and the CIPR’s President-Elect, Rachael Clamp. The event saw a discussion around lobbying and access including the role of All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), the accountability of the Lords, the lobbying efforts of Trade Unions, think tanks and charities and explored the solutions technology could offer.
The campaign, which will continue through 2023, will bring parliamentarians and the industry together as we push for new legislation that builds public trust.
To support the campaign for lobbying reform and greater transparency, we continued to speak out on the subject regularly throughout the year. This included a response to reports in The Sunday Times that Downing Street's new Chief of Staff - the prime minister’s most senior political adviser - Mark Fullbrook, was being paid through his private lobbying firm.
In September, we welcomed the outcome of an investigation into the Earl of Shrewsbury that concluded there had been a breach of lobbying regulations, calling for “wholesale reform”.
In December, we welcomed a new report from the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) recommending tougher rules on the ‘revolving door’ between Parliament and the private sector and that called for legal action to be taken against former ministers and civil servants who break those rules.
Read the response from David Boot, co-chair CIPR Public Affairs Group.
The mini-budget from the then Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, announced the removal of IR35 rules – a decision we welcomed and highlighted as a “great relief to many independent practitioners in our industry and beyond”. However, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt would later reverse those planned changes.
Read the response from Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive.
We continued to scrutinise the government’s draft Online Safety Bill following a report from the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) that concluded it "neither adequately protects freedom of expression nor is clear and robust enough to tackle the various types of illegal and harmful content".
Building on our previous responses, we raised concerns that making individual directors personally liable for online harms may have the perverse effect of making prosecutions harder and less likely to succeed.
Read the response from Rachel Roberts Chart.PR, MCIPR, CIPR President 2022
In July 2022, the BBC premiered ‘Big Oil vs the World’, a three-part film that highlights decades worth of delay in effective measures to tackle climate change, laying blame on an “audacious PR plot”.
We responded with a statement, highlighting the “terrible costs to society” when PR campaigns are founded on unethical behaviours. We added the series to our database of continuing professional development (CPD) resources and encouraged members to view the films as a means of enhancing their understanding of the issues associated with greenwashing. We also emphasised our dedication to tackling climate change through our Code of Conduct, professional development opportunities, and our adoption of the ESI Monitor - an assessment tool that tracks our progress towards achieving Net Zero by 2030.
In February, we published 'Communicating in a Crisis' - a new guide showcasing the Best COVID Response category entries from the 2021 CIPR Excellence Awards. These highlighted the outstanding value PR teams have provided in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Featuring 21 case studies from a variety of in-house, public sector and agency teams, this eBook highlights the resilience and power of communications professionals.
From supporting the NHS on the vaccine roll-out to fighting misinformation online, PR teams from across the UK played an invaluable role throughout the pandemic. This guide tells their story and offers vital tips and insights into how organisations can deploy their PR in response to a crisis.
Download the ‘Communicating in a crisis’ guide.
We highlighted the value of NHS communicators in response to a “disingenuous” suggestion by the TaxPayers’ Alliance- linking rising hospital waiting lists with spend on NHS communications.
Read the response from Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive.
A report from our CIPR Inside Group found that line managers are being “set up to fail” through a lack of communications training. The report – Effective Line Manager Communications – surveyed line managers, HR professionals, and internal communicators and showed a clear mismatch between the expectations of line managers and the support provided.
The report found:
Following the invasion of Ukraine and sanctions on Russia, we joined a coalition with the 60 other member organisations of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management calling on the industry to be aware of ethical considerations when continuing to represent clients aligned with Russian authorities.
In early March, we wrote to the Rt Hon Michael Ellis QC MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Angela Rayner MP, calling for urgent reforms to lobbying legislation considering the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and increased attention on the influence and financial dealings of the Russian Government within the UK.
Later in March, we welcomed the government’s move to clampdown on foreign interest lobbyists, following the announcement of the Foreign Interest Registrations Scheme. The scheme means lobbyists working with foreign states would be required to register their activities and face prosecution if they failed to do so.
“This is a very welcome move that will increase transparency, do more to reassure the public about the interests of lobbyists in this country, and support businesses when deciding who they work with and for.” - Max Sugarman, Chair of the CIPR Public Affairs Group
We undertook a major research project that looked into how much PR expertise the UK's top firms had at board and management level.
The FTSE 100 audit found the UK's largest companies face reputational risk with almost half lacking PR expertise. It revealed that just three FTSE 100 companies have a dedicated communications director, while only twenty-nine have a non-executive with clear communications experience.
We continued to gain insight into the opinions and priorities of business leaders from across the UK as we published two ‘Business Leaders Survey’ reports across 2022.
The July report highlighted how unprepared many UK businesses are for reputational risks. Fewer business leaders, compared to 2021, admitted they had a plan for tackling reputation risk or for communicating in a crisis.
In the December report, around half of businesses had a plan for identifying and tackling reputational risk, significantly fewer than the 85% of those that said they did the year previously.
The research – exclusive to CIPR members – will be repeated twice a year and will track business confidence, plans to recruit, the importance placed on the reputation of their businesses and training needs by surveying 300 business leaders.
In July, we announced a new strategic partnership with the Trade Association Forum (TAF) to promote the importance of investing in professional communications and to support trade associations across their communications activities including PR to member communications, media relations and public affairs.
This led to the launch of the TAF PR and Public Affairs Best Practice Forum (TAF PUBCOM) - a new networking group for PR and PA professionals working in trade associations. The forum aims to:
In June, our long-standing annual research study - the State of the Profession survey - returned to provide the latest data and insight into the PR profession. The 2022 report examines a growing industry stunted by an inability to meet demand due to low numbers of skilled applicants and a fierce battle to secure existing talent.
Key findings were:
Our Annual Conference returned in November 2022, welcoming over 300 PR and business professionals to London’s iconic National Gallery and online. The conference – themed around influencing the future – offered delegates an expert insight into generative artificial intelligence (AI) and deepfakes, how to hold attention in the changing media landscape, the challenges brands face when trying to "do the right thing", understanding PR's role as communicators in the co-existing fields of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and sustainability, and much more.
The conference chair Whitney Simon hosted an array of expert speakers including Peter Cardwell (Political Editor and Presenter Talk Radio), Sophia Smith-Galer (author and journalist), Nina Schick (Director, Tamang Ventures), Solitaire Townsend (Chief Solutionist and Co-Founder, Futerra), Simon Baugh (Chief Executive, Government Communication Service), Carrie Rose (Co-Founder, Rise at Seven), and others.
Capitalising on the return to an in-person conference, our 2022 President Rachel Roberts awarded the Sir Stephen Tallents Medal to Avril Lee MCIPR for her "significant contribution to making a change in relation to the CIPR and the PR industry’s perspective on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion". The 2022 Presidents Medal was awarded to Richard Bagnall MCIPR for his work championing measurement and evaluation in PR.
Play the Engage Podcast conference episode - ‘Influencing the Future’ - for further discussion from the event.
“When a light is shone on our industry, as it was last night, it really demonstrates the breadth of talent, creativity, and passion that flows through it.”Rachel Roberts, CIPR President 2022
After a two-year break, our Excellence Awards returned in-person to showcase the very best talent across the PR profession. Host Jason Mohammed welcomed over 550 PR professionals to the Artillery Garden at the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) to celebrate the breadth, talent and creativity across the entire profession.
Nearly 300 Gold and Silver Awards were won as we celebrated the “exceptional PR practice” from across the UK at our 2022 regional PRide Awards.
Agencies, businesses, public sector organisations, NHS teams, and independent practitioners from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and six English regions were all recognised for their incredible work over the last year as we celebrated the success of the industry.
“The launch of our latest e-zine and fresh new-look website is the next chapter in the development and growth of Influence. This one-stop-shop brings the Influence brand under one umbrella and gets readers to both the latest blogs and member-exclusive content in a more convenient and user-friendly way.”Lysanne Currie, Editor, Influence
At the beginning of 2022, our award-winning Influence Magazine took a new direction under the leadership of a new editor, Lysanne Currie. CIPR members can now access the latest exclusive content alongside a host of the best blogs in the PR and communications industry.
The new-look Influence website includes a new ‘Access’ series of interviews providing members with practical insight on how to engage editors and influencers from the media landscape.
“Research of this nature gives members an opportunity to explore wider themes impacting the profession that don't fall within our immediate remit but are no less valuable. I'm looking forward to hearing more about the proposals and eventually seeing the final work.”Mandy Pearse, 2022 CIPR Vice President
Following its successful launch in 2021, we ran the second PR Research Fund to support members with the opportunity to conduct independent research into the PR profession through the awarding of grants.
Martin Turner produced a short guide and video on PR in a pluralistic society - 'The Impact of Post-Secularism on the Not-For-Profit’s Access to Public Conversations' - that were made available to watch and read in spring 2022.
Our commitment, starting in 2022, was to publish an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report annually. This would help us in identifying areas of our operations that may require changes, ensure our reporting aligns with modern business practices, and serve as a model for our members in addressing their own reporting needs.
Our 2022 ESG report is published as part of this annual report.
The CIPR is the world’s leading source of research and thought leadership on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in PR practice and the impact those tools will have on our professional operating environment.
In 2022, our #AIinPR Panel began a review of current AI tools and their use in PR. The report, entitled AI tools and the impact on public relations practice, was published in early 2023.
The CIPR is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management. Throughout April we supported Education, Training and Development Month which included a 24-hour programme of video resources to support learning and development across the profession. We encouraged members to kickstart their CPD for the new cycle by utilising the global resources made available from other Global Alliance member organisations.
In 2022, we joined fellow members of the Global Alliance in calling for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to be expanded to include ‘responsible communication’. We believe the other development goals cannot be achieved if governments, corporations, and civil society organisations are not honest and transparent in their claims and statements. Misinformation, greenwashing, astroturfing, deepfake and other forms of dishonest communication pose a fundamental threat to our future.
As part of our annual support for Global Ethics Month – hosted by The Global Alliance for Communication and Reputation Management – we launched our Applied Tools & Techniques series of practical playbooks on the topic.
The member-exclusive guides – edited by Dr Heather Yaxley – aim to improve practical knowledge of ethics, develop professional skills, and increase competence in using a range of tools and techniques. Topics include:
We participated in a Chatham House roundtable event following their publication on 'The UK's Kleptocracy Problem' and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Representatives from across the industry met to discuss the report that found UK PR firms can often find themselves in the midst of various disputes concerning political and business figures from abroad, including being used to enhance the reputation of kleptocrats.
In May, we published a new skills guide designed to support members who work in agencies and consultancies or as independent practitioners to better understand who their clients are, the nature of the competitive marketplaces they operate in, and how their work may affect the role of service providers.
The guide - ‘Know your Client: How to confidently sign new clients with some simple checks’ – was launched in the wake of the Russian conflict and aims to raise awareness of the business risks associated with working with new clients.
Throughout 2022, we awarded Fellowship to 12 practitioners for their outstanding contribution to the profession and the Institute. As ambassadors for the CIPR, Fellows drive forward our values of a commitment to life-long learning, professionalism, and ethical practice.
In 2022, our membership community grew by over 1,000 members, our largest growth in a decade. A large proportion of this growth was made up of organisations joining as Corporate Affiliate members. In 2022, we welcomed 57 new corporate members including major government departments, banks, universities and PR agencies.
During the spring, we celebrated the lifeblood of our community – our volunteers – as we hosted our inaugural Volunteer Conference at the Queen’s Hotel in Leeds.
The focus of the Volunteer Conference agenda included discussions on our strategy and values, diversity and inclusion, Chartership, and plans for 2023 and our 75th anniversary year. This was coupled with practical training sessions to develop podcasting, committee management, social media community management, and non-executive director (NED) skills.
CIPR President 2022, Rachel Roberts, reflected on the four common themes from the conference in this Influence blog.
In 2022, we began reviewing our values, guided through feedback from internal surveys and discussions involving staff and volunteers.
The robust process included scene-setting workshops and surveys with staff and volunteers, inviting them to describe what makes it worthwhile to work or volunteer with the CIPR and to envisage what the organisation is like when at its best. The exercises helped us to identify values which were used for further workshops to underpin beliefs about what the CIPR exists to do and what sets us apart.
Values are crucial to an organisation and how the team manifests them into our work and behaviours will be key to how our volunteers and members experience the CIPR. With our values now agreed we begin our plans to embed them in partnership with volunteers and across the CIPR.
Over many years, the CIPR has undertaken research into diversity and inclusion in the PR profession and called on the wider professional community to address the lack of diversity across it. As part of our responsibility in representing the profession and because of our strategic commitment to building a resilient and inclusive community, we set out on a path to be an exemplar of good practice in diversity and inclusion.
For this reason, in 2021 we committed to achieving the National Equality Standard (NES) in 2022. The NES is a comprehensive and independently audited standard that reviews an organisation’s diversity and inclusion practices in 35 areas of competence. We applied for accreditation under the standard in 2022 but unfortunately were not successful, achieving a passing score in only nine out of the thirty-five areas of competence. Since receiving their report, we have been working with the auditors to develop a plan of work that will allow us to submit a new application in 2023.
In early 2022, we took the next step to improve member connectivity and communications by launching our first ever app. The CIPR Connect App is designed to connect members from across the globe and offers opportunities to engage in topical discussions, stay up to date with the latest news and events, and much more.
At the end of 2022, 1,187 members had downloaded the Connect App.
To download the App, search for CIPR Connect in your App store.
Following the success of the pilot programme in 2021, the PR industry’s first Black, Asian and Ethnic (BME) reverse mentoring scheme returned to help senior leaders understand the challenges faced by practitioners from diverse communities in the PR industry, support the creation of inclusive cultures, and drive lasting change.
Delivered in partnership with the Taylor Bennett Foundation, the programme pairs senior leaders with BME minority PR professional mentors to share insights and showcase the vital role of informed allyship and inclusive cultures.
BME PR Pros collaborated with the CIPR and PRovoke Media to launch the Xec. leadership scheme for the second year running, with support from Google UK. This scheme is the first of its kind for BME PR and communications professionals in the UK striving to develop the next generation of BME leaders and enhance boardroom diversity on both the client and agency side.
“This year’s cohort, as with the class of ’22, are a diverse, exciting, and talented group who we believe have what it takes to be great leaders and change our industry for the better.”Elizabeth Bananuka, Founder of The Xec
We supported the I Have a Voice mentoring scheme to provide opportunities for 80 young people seeking a career in public affairs. The nine-month programme supported participants with one-to-mentoring from professionals across the sector to develop mentees’ knowledge of the UK political system and help them to get work-ready. The mentees had the opportunity to grow their network through a range of workshops and talks from industry experts.
In August, we launched our cost-of-living crisis support package to alleviate pressure and support members facing challenging circumstances. The hub pooled together existing and new resources including debt advice and guidance, financial wellbeing counselling, and fee reductions for those on part-time contracts.
"Take some time to reflect on the data in this report and share them with your senior leaders. The power to improve the mental health of our employees and colleagues is in our hands. Now is the time to make a difference."Alastair McCapra, CEO, CIPR
Our annual mental health research with the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), Edelman, and Opinium revealed that PR practitioners were less likely to take time off for mental health compared to other UK industries.
The Mental Wellbeing Audit 2022 explores the current challenges posed by poor mental health and examines key factors including workload stress, workplace and much more.
The research found:
In October 2022, we hosted our second #HeardMentalityPR campaign with the PRCA to inspire the PR profession to host open and honest discussions about mental health within their teams and organisations. 170 PR teams from a variety of different sectors and industries signed up to ‘Join the Heard’ and in doing so created time and space for individuals to share their thoughts and feelings on the industry's growing mental health challenge.
“Last week we were one of 150 PR teams who took part in Heard Mentality – a campaign run by the @CIPR_Global and @PRCA_HQ, that focused on improving #MentalWellbeing across the industry. #HeardMentalityPR #MentalHealthMatters.”Orchard PR, Heard Mentality 2022
Following the launch of our quarterly Engage podcast in November 2020, our Podcast Editorial Board delivered four insightful episodes with guest speakers in 2021 exploring topics on:
In 2022, the Engage Podcast had nearly 5,000 downloads and attracted a global audience of listeners from the United Kingdom, the United States, Uganda, India, and Australia.
Our volunteer-led national, regional and sector groups and special interest networks continued to meet the needs of members through delivery of events, research, CPD resources and partnerships.
Together, our groups and networks hosted 165 events for more than 5,000 members and non-members in 2022. With an average of five CPD points per event, our volunteers created approximately 730 CPD points for members last year.
The CIPR International Group, Public Affairs Group and Sports Network were just three of the many volunteer-led groups and networks who provided thought leadership and learning opportunities for members in 2022.
The globally based CIPR International Group had a successful 2022, delivering seven webinars on a diverse set of topics including PR practice in Africa and MENA and how PR teams can survive and thrive in a time of war.
Throughout the year the committee produced 10 blogs for their members as well as for Influence. The committee dedicated their efforts to fostering links across the global PR community including the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management and Comms Avenue.
In response to the Ukraine conflict, the Group hosted an insightful webinar on how businesses and organisations can be resilient during wartime.
2022 served as another opportunity for the Public Affairs Group to continue their efforts in supporting HQ with lobbying activity, especially with the launch of the ‘Lobbying for Good Lobbying’ campaign.
The group provided a platform for members to learn and discuss key topics impacting public affairs professionals with events on topics including ‘whether the future of public affairs and politics is digital?’
In June, volunteers founded the first ever CIPR Sports Network to provide members with a forum for debate and best practice in sports communications. They launched with a webinar in November prior to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar with the former Managing Director and Communications Director of the Football Association, Adrian Bevington, and former England midfielder Owen Hargreaves.
In 2022, we reached a milestone as we chartered our 500th Chartered PR Practitioner. 71 members achieved Chartered status in 2022 taking our total to 507.
In April 2022, we collaborated with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) to produce an in-depth study into the growing importance of Chartership and CPD in the PR and marketing industries. The study – The Value of Chartership – reveals that two-fifths (39%) of practitioners believe respect for Chartership in PR and marketing has increased. However, the majority (72%) of respondents feel it is less respected in comparison to other chartered professions such as accountancy or engineering.
The report demonstrates that becoming Chartered can provide a competitive edge for marketing and PR professionals:
The research found:
In June, we announced a new partnership with College Green Group Academy to provide CIPR members with discounted access to board level training courses. The partnership aimed to support PR professionals to increase their confidence and understanding of the expertise and skills necessary for securing board and director level roles.
We responded to the needs of members as we launched a series of new free member training courses worth £600 to help members develop key skills and provide knowledge to progress at every stage of their careers. The bite-sized courses on leadership, strategy, and ethics provided knowledge and confidence to anyone looking to become a Chartered PR Practitioner.
We ran 18 sessions in 2022 with 940 members attending.
By the end of 2022, half (50%) of all new members joining the CIPR began recording CPD in their first year of membership.
Members continued to demonstrate their commitment to their professional development in 2022 as 2,743 members completed the CPD cycle and over 29,701 CPD activities were recorded.
Throughout the year the membership team offered members valuable ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions to support them in submitting their CPD.
814 students embarked on a CIPR professional qualification in 2022, with 456 students graduating throughout the year.
In July, as in-person events returned, we hosted one of our largest ever graduation ceremonies at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. 84 graduates from countries including Greece, Uganda and Kenya were presented with their qualification certificates by CIPR President 2022, Rachel Roberts.
Our network of CIPR Accredited Teaching Centres now stands at 14, including eight centres based overseas.
The Ugandan Management Institute (UMI) became Accredited in 2022, adding to our global presence. The UMI, whose purpose is to improve the management and institutional capacity of the public, private and non-governmental sectors in Uganda, will offer CIPR qualifications in 2023 from its main teaching centre in Kampala.
In July 2022, we launched the Specialist Diploma in Sustainability Communications - the first of its kind - to support PR professionals to develop the knowledge and expertise needed to communicate ESG initiatives for their clients and employers.
“Undertaking the Sustainability Communications Diploma has been a life changing experience and is proving to be invaluable for my career. The majority of businesses are going to have to demonstrate their sustainability credentials in the coming months and years and I now feel far more prepared and informed to be able to help my clients.”Antonia Stratford, CIPR graduate
The purpose of the CIPR is set out in its Royal Charter, which states that one of the reasons we are constituted is “to promote public understanding of the contribution of effective public relations in encouraging ethical communication and in enhancing the efficiency and performance of all sectors of the economy”.
In the present global context this means that we have a responsibility to promote effective communication around climate change mitigation, social impact and governance.
One of the best ways we can do this is to report on our activity under these headings, and accordingly we present out first annual ESG report. In doing so, we are using the headings suggested by PWC in their recommendations for ESG reporting.1 We welcome feedback on this report, particularly any suggestions for how we can improve it in future years.
The CIPR has signed the SME Climate Commitment -which means that we are pledged to halve our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, achieve net zero by 2050, and disclose our progress towards these goals on an annual basis. To help us with this we have adopted Futuretrack as our measurement tool.
We recognise climate change as a serious threat to our future and we recognise that the CIPR has two distinct roles to play in mitigating the risks is presents. Firstly, as an organisation that uses energy and resources, we will look for ways to work as cleanly as possible, reducing our impact by minimising our footprint. Secondly, as the professional body we have a role in helping our members achieve these same goals through their individual professional activities, in the organisations they work for and on behalf of their clients.
We have used the Futuretrack tool to calculate the carbon footprint of the CIPR in 2022 as 440.13 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). This equates to 14.67 tCO2e per full-time equivalent employee. The CIPR had no scope 1 (on-site) emissions or scope 2 (imported) emissions in 2022. All of its emissions were in scope 3 (indirect emissions in the upstream or downstream activities of the organisation).
Within our scope 3 emissions, purchased goods and services was the subscope with the largest contribution to our carbon footprint, accounting for 424.47 tCO2e, or 96.4% of the total. As the client organisation benefitting from these services, we regard purchased goods and services as an input measure. If all organisations were already managing and reporting their carbon footprint, they would already be accounted for in the supplier organisation’s environmental reporting. Since we don’t believe this is generally the case yet, we are taking responsibility for the emissions from which we have benefitted. The remainder of our scope 3 emissions were employee commuting (3.14%) and business travel (0.42%).
Overall, this means that our emissions are typical of those for a small office-based organisation. We intend to offset our 2022 carbon emissions once we have reached an agreement with a suitable UK-based scheme. We are currently working to achieve this. We will also be looking for ways of reducing our carbon footprint, although since none of our footprint falls within scope 1 or scope 2, we do not expect to deliver significant changes on this in the next few years.
There are a number of areas which we do not consider material to our environmental reporting. These include: electronic waste; packaging and material waste; toxic emissions; water stress; biodiversity and land use; and raw material sourcing.
The CIPR’s chartered purpose is primarily about social values including “to promote for the public benefit high levels of skill, knowledge, competence, and standards of practice and professional conduct on the part of public relations practitioners; and to promote the study, research and development of the practice of public relations and publish or otherwise make available the useful results of such study and research.” This purpose sets the scene for our work that relates to the social pillar of ESG.
The human capital of the CIPR is primarily its members. We are committed to supporting their personal and professional development throughout their careers. As this is central to our purpose as a professional body, it is covered in detail in our Annual Report, under the headings of ‘Building a Resilient and Diverse Community’ and ‘Championing Lifelong Learning and Chartership’.
In addition, in 2022 we began working with our volunteers and employees on the development of a set of CIPR values that will underpin all of our future work. The process of agreeing and expressing these values will be completed in 2023.
In 2022 we continued the offer of free training sessions in diversity and inclusion for all our volunteers. We also began the process of attaining the National Equality Standard, the UK’s leading diversity, equality and inclusion standard, which is run by Ernst and Young.
We recruit employees through an agency that sends us diverse candidates for shortlisting and interview. By this means we hope to mitigate the effects of any unconscious bias in our recruitment processes. In 2022 we also initiated regular pulse surveys of staff to find out about their wellbeing, concerns and attitudes towards management.
In 2020, CIPR employees opted to make the organisation virtual, giving up our office permanently. At that time, we gave all of our employees guidance on health and safety in their home workplace. In several instances since then we have purchased special equipment in order to make adaptations to their home working environments to ensure that they are safe and healthy.
We seek to develop two key elements of our human capital – our volunteers and our employees. The work of the CIPR is delivered by volunteers working together with employees, and there are more than ten volunteers (350) for every employee (32), meaning that the role of volunteers is of critical importance to our success.
In 2022 we established new employee posts for the purpose of supporting and developing our volunteer community. We also held our first ever volunteer conference in Leeds, attended by 50 members, and established a regular newsletter for our volunteers. In 2022 we began an annual survey of our volunteers so that we can better understand their motivations, aspirations and concerns. This will be used to shape our volunteer engagement plans in the future.
All CIPR employees have training and development plans as part of our appraisal process. The CIPR pays for the membership fees of relevant professional bodies for it's employees, so long as they commit to completing CPD as part of their membership. In addition, we designed a comprehensive training programme for all employees at manager level. This will be launched in 2023.
In 2022 we offered free training opportunities to all our members for the first time. A total of 940 members took advantage of this offer over the course of the year.
We recognise that we need to better understand and monitor our suppliers to ensure that they are meeting appropriate standards, but in 2022 we had not yet begun this work. Most of our suppliers are small professional service firms and we do not have any immediate concerns about poor labour practices in any of them.
All of the CIPR’s data management systems are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Adherence to legally required standards of privacy is a condition of employment at the CIPR. Since 2019 the CIPR has been certified annually as meeting the Cyber Essentials standard from the National Cyber Security Centre.
We recognise that one of the most significant threats to data security is from phishing attacks, so in 2022 we introduced a new software tool, Darktrace Prevent, to increase our security and decrease the risk of external threats. This has proved highly effective in reducing the number of risky inbound emails.
All employees are required to access CIPR data on registered devices that are kept fully updated with the most recent software releases, and to connect to our servers using a dedicated secure virtual private network link. Employees are trained periodically and reminded about the importance of data security and the risks of phishing attacks.
The process of hearing and discussing opposition to future plans, as well as criticism of past activities, is an ongoing one and built into the core structure of CIPR governance. The CIPR is led by an elected Board of Directors supported by an elected Council. Decision-making is usually done by consensus. Our five-year strategy (2020-2024) was agreed by both of these bodies following member consultation. We plan the same approach for the next five-year strategy which is currently being developed.
The CIPR has periodic gatherings dedicated to engagement with a number of recognised stakeholder groups. These include Group Chairs, Accredited Teaching Centres, and trainers. Although they do not have formal decision-making power they feed into the decision-making process. We run regular pulse surveys for employees to ask how they feel about their working environment, and in 2023 will begin to offer scheduled individual check-ins to ensure that we hear and address and concerns individuals may have about their workplace. We likewise run annual volunteer and general member surveys to ensure that we understand the developing needs and concerns of our member stakeholders.
Our activities in this area are covered in our main Annual Report, where there is reference to our partnerships with I have a voice, BME PR Pros, the Taylor Bennett Foundation and Socially Mobile. All of these partnerships are intended to encourage and support people from disadvantaged or non-traditional backgrounds to make a successful career in public relations.
Aside from the leadership positions in the CIPR that are filled by election, most of the remainder and are filled by open call, to ensure that all members can access the opportunities they afford. We offer training to incoming Board members if they need it in order to better fulfil their CIPR roles, and are introducing a number of training opportunities for Council member and Group Chairs.
CIPR members and employees who meet a brief qualifying period are eligible to receive financial support in unusual circumstances from the CIPR’s benevolent fund, Iprovision.
The CIPR offers a number of benefits to its employees, including the Vitality health scheme and access to private health care. The CIPR has an employee wellbeing policy, and volunteer staff members have set up a Staff Wellbeing Assistance Group that shares resources, provides guidance, and organises activities.
There are a number of potential reporting areas which we have considered and determined to not be material to our work. These include: Access to communications (our members are all professional communicators); controversial sourcing; responsible investments (the CIPR does not have any investments); and product liability, safety and quality.
Legal responsibility for the activities of the CIPR rests with its Board of Directors. The Board is composed of three Honorary Officers elected directly by CIPR members, six Directors elected by Council, and two individuals co-opted on the initiative of the President, with the agreement of the elected Board members.
In 2022 the Board had three standing committees - the Finance Committee, the Coordination Committee and the Professional Practices Committee. Near the end of the year, it was agreed that from 2023 there should be a fourth, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
The CIPR Council is elected by all members every two years. Its role is to debate important points of strategy or principle, to provide guidance and perspective to the Board of Directors, and to raise issues of concern for the Board of Directors to pursue.
Day-to-day management responsibility is delegated to the Chief Executive and though him to the employees.
As the core governance structure of the CIPR has been in place since 2014, we have decided that in 2023 we will begin a review process to see what changes it may be constructive to make.
In 2022, the CIPR gathered personal data from its Board members for the first time, but has not published it even in summary form because of its sensitivity. We will however use this data to inform decisions about the future composition of the Board on an ongoing basis.
In 2022 the Board was composed of seven women and four men, which approximates the gender split in CIPR membership. Further steps to promote Board diversity will be taken in 2023 as part of the programme of changes we implement in order to meet the requirements of the National Equality Standard.
The relevant disclosures are in our published annual accounts.
The CIPR is a company limited by Royal Charter. It is owned collectively by its members and has no shareholders.
Our accounting policies are as stated in our audited accounts. The CIPR does not operate any trading subsidiaries.
Our Board has adopted the Nolan Principles to guide its work and all individuals elected to the Board are required to follow them throughout their term of office.
Members are required, when they join and when they renew their membership, to declare their adherence to the CIPR Code of Conduct. Complaints against members are handed by an independent Regulatory Consultant, and if a hearing is required to resolve them, a mixed panel of members and lay people is convened.
The CIPR is a member of the Institute of Business Ethics. In 2022 we worked closely with the UK government in the implementation of sanctions on the Russian Federation, and took steps to ensure that our members understood the new rules as they came into effect. We also issued new advice to our members on the importance of due diligence before taking on new clients.
In late 2022 we launched a strategic campaign, Lobbying for Good Lobbying, to mobilise parliamentary support for a change in Westminster’s inadequate lobbying laws. Part of our case is that companies can only satisfy the ‘G’ requirements in their ESG reporting if they are transparent about their own lobbying.
We also spoke out on several occasions to comment on news about lobbying and parliamentary scandals, consistently arguing for tougher rules and stronger compliance.
The CIPR discloses all related party transactions in its annual accounts. Board and Council members make written declarations of interest at the start of each year- and verbal declarations at the start of each meeting. Staff are required to declare any gifts received from suppliers. Staff policies enforce a strict segregation of duties to minimise the risk of employee fraud. We also have an antibribery policy in place.
We pay UK VAT and corporation tax and do not engage in any tax avoidance schemes or have any assets in tax havens.
Environmental pillar: continue to look for ways of reducing our carbon footprint, and offset our remaining emissions with a reliable and trustworthy UK-based scheme.
Social pillar: secure NES accreditation; launch a scheme to prepare Chartered Public Relations Practitioners for NED roles in non-profit organisations; and undertake a process of periodically reviewing our supply chain to ensure that we have ‘clean hands’.
Governance pillar: review our existing governance structure and adopt changes that will ensure that leadership positions within the CIPR as accessible as possible; pursue the Lobbying for Good Lobbying campaign to persuade organisations that being transparent about their lobbying is necessary in terms of their own ESG commitments.
Our audited accounts for 2022 were issued in July 2023.
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