Chartered Institute of Public Relations

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The Chartered Institute of Public Relations is the pre-eminent 'professional' body for UK PR practitioners. It received a royal charter in 2006 and changed its name from the Institute of Public Relations. With over 8,000 members, involved in all aspects of the public relations industry, it is the largest body of its type in Europe.


Chris Grimshaw writes:

Public relations, according to top spin-doctor Tim Bell, is the 'use of third-party endorsement to inform and persuade'. In seeking to improve its own image, the Institute of Public Relations has reached for the ultimate in third-party endorsement, a royal charter. On 9 February it became the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR): effectively now endorsed by the crown. The CIPR hopes that this endorsement will help it to deal with the industry's two-part image problem.
On one hand, PR practitioners are widely regarded as hopeless halfwits; indeed the Institute of Public Relations itself was described by Chris Lewis, of UK multinational Lewis Communications, as a group of 'disorganised, scatterbrained, champagne-dependent luvvies' and by Chris Klopper, of Mulberry Marketing Communications, as 'so far up their own backsides as to be money-and time-wasting irrelevancies'. Corporate Watch has been unable to determine whether PRs are in reality absolutely fabulous or absolute idiots, but we can confirm that every industry event we have attended has involved freely flowing champagne.
On the other hand, PR is derided as machiavellian spin-doctoring; an industry that works against the public interest by manipulating and suppressing journalists and the press on behalf of its corporate masters. And unfortunately for the industry's image, a lot of PRs do spend their time doing just this.
With chartered status the CIPR hopes to gain respectability. It can portray its members as sober professionals working with integrity and ethics. In reality however nothing has changed.
The CIPR has 8,000 members, only a third of all the PR practitioners in the UK. The Institute has investigated, on average, only six complaints against its members each year and has never seen fit to expel any of them. This makes a mockery of the industry's claims to effective self-regulation. At last year's Annual General Meeting, one member pointed out that many of the top people in PR have not taken membership precisely so that they do not have to sign up to the CIPR's code of conduct.[1]

Financial issues

Plans for a series of new appointments to the CIPR senior team were announced after it emerged that the organisation made significant financial losses in 2009. Although a loss of £700,000 was initially anticipated,[2] the final accounts for 2009 instead report a "substantial" loss of £580,000.[3].


In September 2010, the CIPR announced the appointment of former GCap Media communications chief Jane Wilson as CEO.[4] Wilson replaces the previous director general, Colin Farrington, who left the CIPR "for undisclosed reasons" amid a period of significant financial losses.[5]


See also

Contact, Resources, Notes


CIPR Public Relations Centre
52-53 Russell Square



  1. Chris Grimshaw Queen backs PR front group Corporate Watch Newsletter, Issue 23.
  2. Matt Cartmell, "CIPR undergoes major organisational restructure leaked document reveals", PR Week UK, 26.03.10, accessed 07.09.10
  3. CIPR, "Financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2009", accessed 07.09.10
  4. Peter Hay, "CIPR names former GCap Media comms chief Jane Wilson as CEO", PR Week UK, 06.09.10, accessed 07.09.10
  5. Matt Cartmell, "Director general Colin Farrington leaves CIPR for undisclosed reasons", PR Week UK, 31.03.10, accessed 07.09.10
  6. CIPR, "Board", accessed 07.09.10

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