As honoray fellow of the CIPR (the UK professional association), I received this cipr news highly interesting piece of news the other day, which implies that -in agreement with the UK Government, and moving forward from the 2006 already very innovative official recognition of the Institute- procedures have been set for individual members of the CIPR to receive a chartered status…
This is a major step forward in the long standing debate on licensing and I urge you to carefully read the document.
I am sure that many will frown on this development.
If the law doesn’t oblige me to have a licence to operate why should I go through all this hassle?
The issue at stake here is not the protection of the profession impact but the protection of the profession’s stakeholders: employers, other stakeholder groups, and the public at large.
The basic and fundamental difference between this scheme and the other accredited professional recognitions which can be found in other countries, is that the public interest (represented by the Government) is directly involved in the process on the basis of the recognition that public relations, in its many and increasing practices, impacts on the public interest to the point that it is necessary to ensure predetermined standards of professional competence and behaviour.
Of course, compared to countries like Nigeria or Brazil or a few others where the law forbids non government licensed professionals to operate, this is still a voluntary procedure.
On the other hand this system allows licensed professionals to stand out and distinguish themselves from all the other improvised or less experienced ones.
In a way, this is also happening to companies …and the Arthur Page Society authentic enterprise on the Authentic Enterprise sees something similar coming, although from another perspective: there will be companies which prefer to go one way and companies which will prefer to go the other way. Presumably in the UK one can see licensed professionals working for the first and the second, while non licensed ones only for the second.
Personally I remain in favour of the full licensing procedure for the reasons I have often expressed here.
Nonetheless I am highly impressed by what the CIPR has accomplished. Now the real task is to convince employers and clients to be much more selective in order to oblige professionals and agencies to be much more strict and overall the profession will gain from this.
An excellent platform for the next World Public Relations Festival which will be held in London next June 23/24 under the chairmanship of Colin Farrington, director general of the CIPR.