Chartered assessment for the remote world

There’s a growing community of Chartered Public Relations Practitioners within CIPR. The latest assessment was completed online adapting to our changed world. There are now over 330 members of the CIPR with the Chart.PR as part of their professional credentials. 

But what does that mean to the work they do? Why have they spent the time and money to get Chartered? What’s involved in getting ready and what is it like now that like much of our lives, the process is being managed online?

There are many blogs written about the process of getting Chartered and individuals sharing their experiences which are really helpful for anyone considering taking the next step in their professional journey. So, here we wanted to give a quick update now that the assessment process is online and remind our internal comms colleagues about the value it may bring to them. 

Internal comms has without doubt been put in the spotlight during this pandemic and continues to be a focus for most organisations as they work out how they should adapt and how they’ll take colleagues with them. As internal comms practitioners, we have an opportunity to show leadership, support our organisations strategically and demonstrate our value. 

Because the Chartership assessment focusses upon leadership, strategy and ethics, and demonstrates the highest standards of professional excellence and integrity, it’s a natural progression for many colleagues who’ve have a breadth of experience or perhaps been at the frontline during this time. 

Are you ready?

If you are an MCIPR or FCIPR grade member and are registered on the CIPR CPD ladder, you can apply to become a Chartered PR Practitioner. There is a registration process on the CIPR website.

There is no checklist to knowing if you’re ready or not. But if you’re considering it, reading this and other blogs about it, then that’s a good start. You’ll need to have a few years’ experience under your belt to be able to demonstrate how you would make decisions in practice, and you’ll need to be committed to your own development with a wider interest in the profession. 

Some of the best help and advice you can get is by having a chat with another Chartered practitioner like Dan Holden did before signing up himself. He said: “I started a couple of conversations with fellow CIPR members I knew had already done the assessment, and they gave me honest advice and reassurance that with my experience I would be fine, even though I’m not a director of communications”. Dan’s point is well made, Chartership is not just for senior practitioners with senior job titles. It’s an assessment of your knowledge and thinking. It’s an opportunity to show what you know and how you would respond in a given situation, whether you’ve actually experienced working through that scenario or not.

Beyond the Chart.PR after your name, why should you get Chartered?

Some of us are like Riki Neill, and continually looking to stretch ourselves. Riki who joined Dan on the latest and first online assessment day, said: “Every year I set myself goals, I enjoy learning. CPD, upskilling and training is always on our agenda at RNN Comms, and over the past few years, I’ve actually enjoyed the CPD process with the CIPR, rather than viewing it as a ‘must do’.

In January, when thinking about the year ahead, I signed up for the Chartered assessment date in April, due to take place in Edinburgh, as once it’s in the diary, I know it’ll be done”.

Taking the Chartered Assessment is an investment of time and money, but achieving Chartered status can also benefit your career. Many professionals have found it’s given them the confidence to be more active and effective at the Boardroom, working in partnership with leaders and clients to set strategy and objectives, or even commanding enhanced rates for their work. This is most likely a combination of a shift in individual mindset, confidence and others perhaps recognising that Chartership is a high achievement that’s recognised across other professions and therefore significant for their communication advisors to have attended.

Riki Neill said: “Chartered status cements our professionalism and commitment to ongoing learning and development. It demonstrates the strength of our knowledge and also clearly aligns our practice to the CIPR’s Code of Conduct.  

“The Chartered status lends authority to my guidance and I’m hopeful that this is the first step in a journey for everyone at RNN Comms to have an even greater focus on CPD, with the overall goal of Chartered accreditation for all senior members of the team”.

What is the assessment process like, and how is it different now it’s all online?

Once you’ve registered for the assessment date, you’ll be sent a digital pack of information two weeks before the assessment. It sets out clearly what to expect and how the assessment logistics work. Use the two weeks to prepare and make sure you make the most of the session on the day. We’ve gathered a few tips from people who’ve gone through the assessment. Their tips are:

  1. Set aside time to focus on the preparation – this may mean a day off, or diary slots across the preparation window to focus on this as a project for you
  2. Read the pack thoroughly and around the key themes of strategy, leadership and ethics. A top tip from Riki was to check out the assessors and their interests, read more articles from the authors referenced in the assessment pack.
  3. Consider your own experience and examples you can discuss in the assessment. The process is about demonstrating your ability to apply and relate your own experiences to the assessment themes.
  4. Use the Chartership handbook to help you prepare.
  5. You can prepare some notes to take in with you, it doesn’t need to be a full ‘war and peace’ tome, but it should be enough to prompt you during the day, so that it is helpful for you.
  6. Think about stories and case studies that you can draw upon in your answers.
  7. Brush up on the CIPR code of conduct. Check your thinking against the principles it sets out. The ethical theme can be a challenge as most of us won’t have experienced the scenario given, and it can test your thinking, moral compass and what you would do.
  8. Talk through your ideas with a trusted comms colleague or friend, it can be a huge help in working through your context and viewing your thoughts from a different perspective
  9. Part of the assessment involves you sharing your two-year CPD plan so think about what your ambitions are and use this as a chance to set the navigation for your development.
  10. On the day, turn your out of office on (especially important as the assessments are digital now and it could be easy to be distracted when you are not in the same room as your group and assessors). Its best to put your mobile on silent to avoid all interruptions during the day.
  11. During the assessment, be present, listen to others, join the conversation and allow others to speak. You’ll find that you won’t use everything you’ve prepared as there won’t be time, but your preparation will help you adapt and be an active participant on the day.
    Alison Arnot , who undertook the latest assessment day made an important point: “Answer all the questions, speak about your passions and don’t be afraid to share your views that are slightly different to those that are shared by others. We are all different and diversity makes the profession stronger so it should be celebrated at all levels”.

     12. Don’t underestimate your own ability. As communicators across a range of organisations disciplines and experiences we all have valid and important contributions to make. 

How is it different online?

Alison summed it up for us: “Ours was the first group ever to be assessed virtually rather than face to face, but any fears I had that the technology would get in the way of the experience melted fast. The joining instructions were clear, the assessment was rigorous but not overwhelming, and every session was well structured and well facilitated. I quickly found myself enjoying the conversations, sharing my own stories and forming a bond with the others. When we reached the end of the day and learned that we had all passed, I felt delighted not just for myself but for the rest of the ‘team’ too and there were virtual high fives all round!”.

As one of four practitioners who joined the first online assessment day, Dan Holden added: “I was nervous, but I really enjoyed the day. The two facilitators were fantastic at making sure we all contributed in each of the sessions and it was insightful listening to everyone’s experiences”.

There are a few of us on the committee who have gone through the Chartered Assessment process and we’re always happy to talk with anyone considering registering.

There is a webinar from CIPR as well that helps explain more about getting Chartered.

The CIPR Inside committee are also hosting an open Q&A event on Thursday 4 June, 1 -2 pm  that you can book via the preceding link.

The next dates for Chartership are:

Thursday 25 June ONLINE – deadline to register is Thursday 11 June

Friday 10 July ONLINE – deadline to register is Friday 26 June

Wednesday 12 August ONLINE – deadline to register is Wednesday 29 July

Friday 11 September ONLINE
– deadline to register is Friday 28 August

Photography by Thomas Jackson for TyneSight Photographic Services .