Charting your way to CIPR Chartered status

By James Boyd-Wallis

17 August, 2023 

For Chartered Institute of Public Relations members and those in the profession, achieving Chartered PR Practitioner status is a significant milestone. For Public Affairs (PA) professionals gaining chartered status is increasingly invaluable. 

Chartered PR status signifies that a professional has been assessed across three core areas: ethics, leadership, and strategy. Moreover, it represents a commitment to continued professional development (CPD). 

Given a public affairs professional's interaction with government ministers and the need to maintain trust in the political landscape, chartership demonstrates integrity and respect for ethical guidelines. 

Put simply, it is a sign of trust. 

The benefits

Chartership helps PA practitioners stand out in the industry. Ethical and professional lobbying is at the heart of public affairs and achieving chartership shows clients and colleagues a professional has these critical attributes. 

On a personal front, chartership helps professionals gain confidence and demonstrate character. 

David Boot, CIPR Public Affairs group chair and head of public affairs at the National Oceanography Centre, agrees: "Chartership helps to affirm what you are doing as a professional and provides insight into different approaches. It is a badge of professionalism, and I am proud to highlight that I have achieved this. Recognising that public affairs is a highly skilled profession is so important."

The chartership journey

So, how do public affairs professionals get chartered? 

First, professionals need to sign up for an assessment day. Public affairs practitioners can sign up for an exclusive assessment day here

Second, preparation. Two weeks before the assessment day, the CIPR provides resources such as case studies and articles related to each of the three competencies. Professionals must read through these examples and case studies and compare them to their experience. 

While these materials form the basis of the discussions, expect the conversations to range wider.

Third, practitioners should prepare for a day on Zoom where assessors will evaluate their competencies in ethics, strategy, and leadership. These sessions typically begin with introductions, followed by group discussions. 

Are you ready? 

Before signing up and getting assessed, professionals should ensure a comprehensive understanding of strategy, leadership, and ethics. 

Real-life experiences and the ability to draw parallels between that and the case studies are crucial. Remember, it is less specific experience and more about the broader application of knowledge.

How to prepare

There are several things public affairs professionals should do before the assessment day. 

First, knowledge and experience. PA practitioners should familiarise themselves with the competencies CIPR expects them to know, relate them to their experience, and have examples ready.

Second, prepare some answers but remain agile. While practitioners should prepare using the materials and questions shared before the assessment, try not to over-prepare. Assessors do not want people reading off a script. So, use the preparation as starting point and be flexible in the discussions.

Third, write a CPD Plan. Although the CPD plan is unassessed, public affairs professionals will need to be able to sketch out their professional development plan for the next two years and be able to discuss it. And remember, participation is critical. Listen, engage constructively, and reflect on the topics at hand. Avoid distractions – this is not the time to check emails or take unrelated calls. 

Reflecting on the assessment day, Caitlin Plunkett-Reilly, External Affairs Manager (Public Affairs), said: "While it was a rigorous assessment day it was also enjoyable. Having the opportunity to hear the insights and experiences of accomplished public affairs practitioners from across different sectors really energised me and gave me some new ideas about how to tackle challenges.”

David agrees: "As well as being challenging, the day itself is rewarding. Hearing other public affairs professionals talk through problems and issues was so beneficial in supporting and adding to my thinking.” 

“It highlights the real strength of the CIPR – a sense of community and supporting each other to achieve more."