Local public services celebrated at CIPR anniversary
70 years and going strong. The Local Public Services group, as the first committee to be formed in the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, has for seven decades maintained a commitment to supporting communications practitioners.
Founded in 1948, the CIPR is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America.
“We have a duty to inform our publics to ensure they can engage with services and help shape place” – Chair of the CIPR’s Local Public Services group
Mandy Pearse, Chair of the CIPR LPS committee for 2017-2018 and Head of Public and Partner Relations at Plymouth City Council, said: “Public sector communicators were at the forefront of professionalising Public Relations and instrumental in setting up the CIPR. The role we play today is as challenging as it was 70 years ago. We have a duty to inform our publics to ensure they can engage with services and help shape place.”
She added: “We campaign to deliver behaviour change for the public benefit. We have a major role in managing reputation and ethics, and this is central to what we do because the bond of trust people have with their public service is a cornerstone of British society.”
Tim Borrett, Acting Director of Policy, Strategy and ICT at Bristol City Council, previously a PR manager, said: “I’ve worked in public sector communications for nearly 12 years and throughout that time the CIPR Local Public Services group has been an invaluable source of information, best practice, inspiration and support; always on hand as I’ve progressed through my Diploma to Accredited to Chartered.
“Given its role in establishing the CIPR, it is fitting that the public sector continues to play a prominent role in its membership today. Over the past few years I have had the privilege of sitting on the LPS committee and seeing first hand the commitment and dedication of colleagues to championing the sector and helping its practitioners to thrive.
Lynda Fothergill, a previous CIPR LPS Committee member and a local public secotr Communications Manager, said: “I have valued the support of the group over the years for the way it has brought colleagues together to helps tackle issues openly and honestly. This has included interpreting the changes to the law around local public services publicity, the national conferences and awards, networking and other support – a lifeline in a constantly changing and challenging environment.”
Celebrating 70 years of CIPR with a view to the future
A service of celebration was held at St Bride’s in Fleet Street, London, exactly 70 years after the Institute was founded at the nearby St Bride Foundation.
Sarah Hall, President of the CIPR in 2018, talked about the anniversary before the event: “2018 is a very special anniversary for the CIPR and the ceremony at St Bride’s will be a fantastic way to recognise the huge strides we have made in public relations over the last seven decades.
“Our speakers will explore the themes of ‘trust and truth’ and ‘public service and mutual understanding’. It will be the perfect opportunity to say thank you to the volunteer members to whom we owe a debt of gratitude.
Sarah, who is a Chartered Practitioner and a Fellow of the CIPR, said: “It’s a real privilege to have the opportunity to speak at St Bride’s Church. Here’s to the next 70, our founders and all of our members!”
Pat Gaudin FCIPR attended the celebration as a long standing member of the Local Public Services Group and a key driver in the representation and support of practitioners in this and other sectors. She described it as ‘the perfect event to celebrate 70 years.’
Tallents’ Medal winner for 2018
This statement was made by Sir Stephen Tallents, a civil servant and public relations expert who became the first President of the CIPR.
At the St Bride’s anniversary celebration, Cornelius Alexander, who has worked in roles in the Metropolitan Police and the Mayor of London’s Office, was awarded the Sir Stephen Tallents Medal for his work in championing diversity and contributing to the public relations profession.
Reporting Abha Thakor
Reflecting on 70 years of the institute
Pat Gaudin writes
LinkedIn has a habit of reminding us of various ‘anniversaries’ and this year it reminded me that I have been a member of the IPR/CIPR for 27 years. From the start I was a member of then IPR Local Government Group. Then membership afforded ‘free’ membership of a geographical group (in my case IPR Scotland) and one specialist group.
In this 70th anniversary of IPR/CIPR it is time to reflect – there were many before me in the local government group and its predecessor the ‘municipal group’ the first vocational group in 1948. Changes inevitably happen over time. In 2002 the IPR launched a review of its Groups to see “whether the structure could be streamlined and improved” – at that time there were four vocational groups (including the Local Government Group) and eight specialist interest groups.
Our group held conferences and excellence awards and increasingly included our colleagues in the local public sector. We worked with organisations like the Local Government Association, Improvement and Development Agency, SOLACE (the Society of Local Government Chief Executives), and the market research company MORI. We developed ’15 minutes of Fame’ to share knowledge of best practice and we supported research and projects such as Connecting with Communities. Key was professional development and research, with training programmes First and Second Steps linked to the IPR’s CPD scheme. Pictured is the former CIPR President Anne Gregory presenting a special award to the Local Government Group for making ‘the most outstanding contribution of the year’.
In the local government world there was Best Value, Charter Marks, Ethics, Comprehensive Performance Assessments, Research, Workshops, Planning Bill, Crisis Comms, Corporate Governance, Internet, Royal Mail, Managing Reputation, Plain English, Diversity, Corporate Performance Assessment, Regional Assemblies, Bird Flu, Devolution, Publicity Code, Transport and much more!
Come 2008 LPG joined with its colleagues in the local public sector to form the LPSG. Many have come before and after my time but what we have in common is supporting, and learning from, each other, sharing an understanding of the importance of local public services and the need to communicate and engage with our local communities.
We have a great legacy on which the current Local Public Services Group continues to build.
Pat Gaudin is a Founding Chartered PR Practitioner, a Fellow of the CIPR and the current Chair of iprovision, the CIPR’s Benevolent Fund.
She was the Chair of the Local Government Group 2003-2006 and Recipient of the Stephen Tallents Medal 2013.
Pat, with colleagues John Brown FCIPR and Wendy Moran FCIPR, authored a book ‘PR and Communications in Local Government & Public Services’.
Service marks 70 years of the institute
Kerry Sheehan writes
The LPS Committee, the first CIPR committee to be formed, was represented at the CIPR70 celebration service at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street.
The good and the great of PR from across the past seven decades attended the moving and uplifting service, including the family of founding member Sir Stephen Tallents, previous CIPR presidents and the mighty Bob Leaf.
It was sublime music, classic architecture and wise words from current CIPR president Sarah Hall et al at St Bride’s, the ‘home’ church to some of the world’s best journalists. The service was a reminder to all of us who work in PR and communications, and as we look to the future, that we are all working for an increased understanding in a turbulent world.
“It’s up to us to educate employers, the business community and the public of the valuable role PR professionals play in society and to address misperceptions about the practice,” Sarah Hall told the congregation.
“The formation of an Institute was necessary to start promoting the value of PR, the strategic value of the discipline as a management function. It is particularly important now due to Brexit, instability, social unrest and the need to educate business/organisations on the value of PR.
“The CIPR was formed to promote the value of PR and
its strategic value as a management function”
“Organisations are being forced to rethink their purpose and legacy. It falls to our influence as PR professionals to ensure what we do is seen as a vital strategic management function.”
Sarah Hall also spoke about the growing impact of artificial intelligence, citing it as an opportunity for our profession and something the CIPR is looking into with the setting up of its #AIinPR task force panel, which will report to members in due course.
It was great to see Cornelius Alexander being awarded the Sir Stephen Tallents Medal for 2018 at the event. Cornelius is a founding member and former chair of the CIPR’s Diversity and Inclusion Forum and someone who has provided great PR service to the public sector, including at the Metropolitan Police and the Mayor of London.
The key message from the event, which included networking at the St Bride’s Institute, was: Purpose and Legacy – the values they need to live by to be authentic.
Here’s to the next 70 years, our founders and all our members!
LPS Committee members Kerry Sheehan and Claire Melia were amongst the local public service practitioners who attended the CIPR 70th anniversary commemoration and celebration.