March Board blog

By Mandy Pearse, President Elect

Welcome to the March Board blog.

We committed at the start of 2020 to provide more information to CIPR members about the themes or topics the Board is discussing. Different board members will blog over the year after our Board meetings to keep you up to date.

Our March meeting considered a number of papers falling broadly under three main themes: governance, operations and reputation.


The discussion here was about how the CIPR manages its democratic processes.
CIPR Council in the morning before Board had given views on some issues arising from the 2019 Presidential election. Three key issues had emerged with regarding timetabling, group endorsements of candidates and a “purdah” period. The Board explored the issues further including the need for all members to have mind to the Code of Conduct whilst engaging in policy debates. Finalised changes will be published in due course.
The Board also had a further discussion on openness and transparency considering again views expressed by Council. This was a wide ranging discussion and covered principles, processes and information.
We are mindful that there is a delicate balance to strike between being a democratic membership body and being financially resilient through our commercial trading activities.
There is a clear need for  confidentiality on issues which are commercially sensitive such as new products, services and financial reports. Similarly personal data such as staffing arrangements, member conduct, complaints, awards and honors needs to handled appropriately. These principles can help guide what information is accessible to all members and what should be restricted.
We feel transparency of process is also important so it is clear how the organisation works, how different areas of volunteer and staff activity help deliver the strategy and how and where decisions are made. We discussed how this can be visualised and better communicated.
We also talked about how we can improve how we communicate and engage with our volunteers and members as well as providing more opportunities for them to engage with each other on topics of interest.

Operations and finances

The Board scrutinised the financial performance of the CIPR in 2019 and looked at projections for 2020. This is where we quiz the Chief Executive, Director of Finance and Finance Committee Chair to make sure we are fully aware of any financial risks, that we are on target on income, managing cost pressures and considering the changing operating environment.
We also ensure that the work being undertaken by the paid staff is focused on the strategy and agreed work plan. This is not to go into detail as this is dealt with by the Co-ordinating Committee but just to be assured that we are on track to deliver and that the right resources are in place to support people.


We spent some time looking at how we manage the reputation of both CIPR and the PR profession in the context of a changing media environment, more polarised online debates and a greater emphasis on ethical behaviour. This also included issues of organisational and individual behaviour, pressure on individuals and their mental health and of member confidentiality.

Who is on the Board?

To find out more about who is on the Board read our January newsroom announcement.  

What is the role of the Board?

Board Directors have specific duties which are set out in law.
You can find out more about the role of the Board and how it differs from Council on our Governance page.