Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Industry Public relations
Founded 1948
Headquarters London
Area served
Key people
Alastair McCapra (CEO)
Rob Brown (President, 2016)

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is a professional body in the United Kingdom for public relations practitioners. Originally founded as the Institute for Public Relations in 1948, CIPR was awarded Chartered status by the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 2005 and added "Chartered" to its name. As of late 2012, CIPR had 10,095 members. The association provides training and education, publishes a code of conduct and hosts awards and events. It is governed by an executive board and a President that is elected each year.


Discussions at the first Public Relations Officers conference in November 1946[1] led to the foundation of the Institute of Public Relations (IPR) in February 1948.[2][3] It established a Professional Practices committee in 1956 and incorporated in 1962.[1] The Institute of Public Relations first discussed attaining chartered status, a professional recognition in the United Kingdom, with the Privy Council in 1956. The Privy Council said that in order to be awarded chartered status, the organisation would have "adopt and publish professional ethical standards relevant to the practice of public relations and to maintain procedures for the regulation of members' professional conduct and discipline."[4] The Institute's first code of conduct was published seven years later in 1963.[1] As of 2003 few members have been expelled for breaches in the code.[5]

To support its bid for chartered status, IPR created a joint report with the Department of Trade and Industry in 2003 based on a survey of 812 professionals.[4] The following year the Privy Council told IPR it needed to do more for the public good and professional development to qualify. By 2005, the privy council decided that IPR and its members act in a way that contributes to the public good and granted it chartered status.[6][7] IPR added "Chartered" to its name.[6] An analysis in the Journal of Communication Management in 2005 said that chartered status was needed in a time where public trust in businesses, institutions and governments was decreasing, but noted CIPR's limited power to enforce ethics among its members.[4]

In 2009 CIPR provided an official response to a report by the Public Administration Select Committee's (PASC) that suggested the creation of a new government entity to oversee and regulate lobbyists. The report suggested the creation of a requirement for lobbyists to register themselves and record their activities. CIPR's position was that regulation would complement CIPR's code of ethics, but that it was more important to regulate members of the House of Lords that were being lobbied to. CIPR also said that lobbying regulation should focus on regulating individuals instead of companies.[8][9][10]

CIPR changed its membership structure in 2011. Affiliate-level memberships were removed and the requirement for six years of experience to attain full membership status was reduced to two.[11] That same year, CIPR responded to a report[12] by the UK's Intellectual Property Office. CIPR felt that copyright policy decisions were prioritizing commercial interests over the public good. They expressed concern that the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) was both the most popular provider of newspaper clippings to public relations professionals in the UK and the organization that enforces the intellectual property rights of newspapers.[13]

A debate from CIPR TV on the relationship between the PR industry and English Wikipedia.[14]

In December 2011 the Bureau of Investigative Journalism shot a covert video interview with Bell Pottinger executives, in which the executives referred to their "dark arts" for manipulating English Wikipedia entries for their clients.[15] The following month CIPR announced it would work with the Wikipedia community to create guidance for public relations professionals on how to participate ethically on English Wikipedia.[16][17] CIPR's guidance was made available for editing by the English Wikipedia community and published in June 2012. According to PRWeek and CorpComms Magazine the most important aspect of CIPR's guidance is that PR professionals not directly edit English Wikipedia articles about their clients or employers. Instead, CIPR recommends they offer content and suggestions to the English Wikipedia community.[18][19]

In July 2013, CIPR joined The Public Relations Consultants Association and the Association of Professional Political Consultants in criticizing the UK government's definition of a lobbyist. CIPR's Director of Policy said the definition of lobbying was so narrow it would be "self-defeating" because few lobbyists would be defined as one. CIPR and other public relations trade associations support a registrar for lobbyists, though UK government estimates the cost of a registrar to be 500,000 pounds its first year and 200,000 every year thereafter.[20]


The Chartered Institute of Public Relations is governed by a 50-member Council[21] that meets four times a year and an Executive Board that meets every six weeks. A President is elected each year that is usually supported by their predecessor.[22] CIPR has six membership grades and 15 regional groups.[23] CIPR had approximately 3,900 members in 1999,[4] 7,000 by 2002,[24] and 7,800 by 2004.[4] By the end of 2012, CIPR had 10,095 members.[25] Prior to 1999, applications for membership were processed over six weeks, before being ratified to an immediate acceptance system.[26] CIPR is a member of the European PR Federation and a founding member of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management.[1] CIPR membership is bestowed in two categories: Associate CIPR member for new entrants to the field and full membership for those with at least two years of experience.[11] It also has a Government Affairs Group dedicated to lobbyists.[27]


CIPR started hosting training and certification programmes[28] in 1980.[29] By 1998 it awarded 5,000 certificates and 3,000 diplomas.[29] CIPR publishes a code of conduct that encourages members to "deal honestly and fairly" with clients, employers, business partners and the public.[2] The code sets standards in personal conduct, integrity and confidentiality. Violations in its code are reported to the Professional Practices Committee, which may pass cases on to the Disciplinary Committee for sanctions.[7]

The Institute hosts the Excellence Awards and the PRide awards.[30][31] The Excellence Awards are bestowed in 28 categories based on a scoring of a campaign in four categories: planning, creativity, measurement and evaluation.[32] CIPR maintains a public database of members,[33] information on legislation affecting public relations, case studies,[24] and a career guide.[34]

The organization also hosts networking, award and educational events.[35] PR professionals don't have to be a member to attend events or training. In 2003, 2,000 non-members attended the organization's training and 7,000 non-members attended events.[4] CIPR has published Public Relations from 1952 to 1988 and IPR Newsletter intermittently from 1956 to 1983, as well as other publications.[1] It also publishes a series of books with case studies and tips from CIPR award-winners called the "PR in practice series."[36]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Chartered Institute of Public Relations; CIPR". History of Advertising Trust. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  2. 1 2 Parris, Matthew (19 February 2005). "The spinners tell me all is fair in the battle between Good and Evil". The Times. London. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  3. Gray, Robert (13 November 1998). "Profile: Alison Clarke Institute of Public Relations: Transforming the IPR image. Alison Clarke waits in the wings, ready to take centre stage at the IPR in 2000". PRWeek. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Tobin, Natasha (2005). "Can the professionalisation of the UK public relations industry make it more trustworthy?". Journal of Communication Management. 9 (1): 56–64. doi:10.1108/13632540510621498. ISSN 1363-254X.
  5. L’Etang, J. (2003) ‘The myth of the ‘‘ethical guardian’’. An examination of its origins, potency and illusions’, Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 53–67.
  6. 1 2 Patterson, Tom (25 February 2005). "NORTH EAST". PR Week.
  7. 1 2 Lionel Zetter (1 November 2008). Lobbying: The Art of Political Persuasion. Harriman House Limited. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-1-905641-69-7. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  8. "Chartered Institute of Public Relations – response to recommendations made by Public Administration Select Committee on Lobbying" (PDF), CIPR response to PASC report on lobbying July 2009, CIPR, July 2009, retrieved 26 December 2012
  9. Lobbying: Access and influence in Whitehall (PDF), Public Administration Select Committee, 9 December 2008, retrieved 27 December 2012
  10. "The week in lobbying". PRWeek. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  11. 1 2 Cartmell, Matt (18 November 2011). "CIPR ditches 'broken' entry rules". PR Week. p. 3.
  12. Hargreaves, Ian, A review of Intellectual Property and Growth, Intellectual Property Office, retrieved 27 December 2012
  13. CIPR- Response to Review of Intellectual Property and Growth (PDF), March 2011, retrieved 27 December 2012
  14. "The Wikipedia Debate: Will Two Communities Collaborate or Collide?". 20 June 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  15. Newman, Melanie; Wright, Oliver (6 December 2011). "Caught on camera: top lobbyists boasting how they influence the PM Special undercover investigation: Executives from Bell Pottinger reveal 'dark arts' they use to burnish reputations of countries accused of human rights violations". The Independent.
  16. Wilson, Jane (15 May 2012). "PR: If You Want to Understand Wikipedia, Become a Wikipedian". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  17. Allen, Kevin (9 January 2012). "PR institute drafting Wikipedia guidelines for public relations pros". Ragans. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  18. Robinson, Catherine (27 June 2012). "CIPR hails new guidance for Wikipedia use". Corp Comms Magazine. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  19. Luker, Sara (27 June 2012). "CIPR tells members not to edit clients' Wikipedia pages". PRWeek. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  20. Farey-Jones, Daniel (17 July 2013). "UK trade bodies attack lobbying bill's definition". PRWeek. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  21. "Council". CIPR: About us. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  22. Quainton, David (18 January 2007). "Profile: Lionel Zetter, president, Chartered Institute of Public Relations". PRWeek. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  23. "List of Sectoral Groups". CIPR. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  24. 1 2 "Institute of Public Relations is Launching New Initiatives". South Wales Echo. 4 February 2002. p. 16. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  25. Annual Report 2012 (PDF), Chartered Institute of Public Relations, retrieved 23 May 2013
  26. Smith, David (16 August 1999). "Swift entry to IPR". Birmingham Post. p. 29.
  27. OECD (20 September 2012). Lobbyists, Governments and Public Trust, Volume 2 Promoting Integrity through Self-regulation: Promoting Integrity through Self-regulation. OECD Publishing. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-92-64-08494-0. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  28. "Elisabeth Lewis-Jones: It's time for the industry to claim a little of the limelight". The Guardian. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  29. 1 2 Ng, Stephen (28 September 1998). "In recognition of fine public relations". New Straits Times (Malaysia).
  30. Clifford, Max (13 May 1996). "Media Guardian: Friend or Foe?". The Guardian. London. pp. T10.
  31. Mulderrig, Amie (29 November 2012). "Council PR team earns two gold awards in national competition". Watford Observer. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  32. Excellence Awards 2013, CIPR, retrieved 6 December 2012
  33. Cartmell, Matt (2 November 2012). "CIPR to list all members". PRWeek. p. 6.
  34. "Public relations: Guiding hand". The Guardian (London). 17 June 2008. p. 35.
  35. Awards & events, CIPR, retrieved 4 December 2012
  36. Magee, Kate (17 November 2006). "Lobbying guide readies launch". PR Week. p. 9.

External links

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