Inspiration for Internal Communicators

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Internal communications

I spent the last couple of days in Brighton at the Institute of Internal Communications annual conference. The theme this year was Agile internal communications but for me the two outstanding presentations were one on the attitudinal differences between generations and one internal comms specialist’s journey to becoming a trusted advisor and regular attendee at board meetings.

The latter, by Saskia Jones (@saskiahjones1) of Oxfam (@Oxfam) was an inspirational story of how to position internal communications as an integral part of the organisation at a strategic level. Given the bee I have in my bonnet about how most IC practitioners underestimate their own potential worth to their organisation and end up essentially just producing and disseminating the messages senior managers feel are appropriate, Saskia’s story was an object lesson in what can be achieved if you have the courage to challenge. Suffice to say that she now has a department of ten (it started as two) despite Oxfam having been through some challenging financial times. Such is the strategic importance of internal communications now to their global operation.

Dean van Leeuwen’s (@deanthefuturist) very entertaining presentation on generational differences also chimed with me. I think in internal comms – or in external comms for that matter – we often segment our target audiences by demographics without spending too much time thinking about how these different groups relate to each other. Externally that might not be too much of an issue in that if you’re trying to influence two different age or gender groups you could use different key messages and media.

But in internal comms you’re in a slightly different position in that your various target audiences actually have to work together. That means they need to talk to each other and, hopefully, actually understand each other! Dean illustrated these differences with the ‘interview’ between the great educationalist, Sir Rhodes Boyson, and Ali G. The interview centred around the subject of caning; for Boyson ‘getting caned’ was capital punishment but for the generation represented by Ali G it means something completely different altogether!

What it means for the internal communications practitioner is that simply creating messages and shovelling them into the various channels available should be the least of your worries, although one that inevitably seems important to senior management. The internal communicator’s role as facilitator and strategic planner is all the more vital when you realise that most senior managers are either from the silent generation or, more likely, the baby boomers and most workers are from gens X and Y. And remember it will only be a couple of years before organisations start employing generation Z!

And for many organisations you also have to think about cultures and languages. (My next internal communications strategy course in a couple of weeks or so is in Dubai where the Boyson/Ali G interview just wouldn’t be appropriate.)

It’s this complexity of interweaving organisational strategy with the challenging relationships of humanity and, increasingly, the use of digital technology that I find so fascinating about internal comms!

Finally, but very importantly, Oxfam are one of the key charities working in Nepal to help the people there following the dreadful earthquake. If you haven’t already donated (and even if you have) please give a wee donation to Oxfam by texting NEPAL5 or NEPAL10 to 70066.

Neil Jones FCIPR is a Fellow of the Institute of Internal Communications and experienced trainer both in the UK and the Middle East. In a 40 year career, Neil has worked in public relations and marketing in a wide range of industries from marine electronics to the motor industry. @Cairnstone

The 2015 PRide Awards are here!

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PRide Awards

The most credible regional awards in the public relations industry, the PRide Awards recognise and reward outstanding work across nine UK regions and nations. They are a celebration of exceptional talent and a reflection of public relations best practice. Only the highest calibre of experts, drawn from the very top of their fields are selected to judge our awards. Winning a PRide Award demonstrates the value of your work to your clients or board and marks you out as an industry leader in your region.

We are immensely proud of winning a CIPR PRide award. It’s a powerful endorsement from our professional peers for work that we’ve done. The bar is set extremely high, so winning means that we really feel we have performed at the highest level. We know that awards are also important to prospective new clients when they are searching for new agencies.

Giselle Dye, Director, Pagoda PR

Last year we received more than 130 entries and 360 industry professionals came together to celebrate the best campaign, strategies and teams of the year. We are looking forward to seeing even more outstanding work in the 2015 awards. There are 24 categories covering multiple disciplines and sectors; find out more and enter here.

Dates for your diary

27 March – Pride Awards open for entry

10 June – Standard entry deadline (6pm)

17 June – Late entry deadline (6pm)

17 July -Shortlist announced

8 October – Scotland PRide Awards dinner, Marriot Hotel, Glasgow

CIPR Scotland AGM 2015

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The 2014/15 annual report from the Scotland committee can be viewed as a PDF here.

The draft annual accounts of the CIPR Scotland Group to December 2014 can be viewed as a PDF here.

The Annual General Meeting of the Scotland Group of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) will be held on Tuesday 24th March 2015 starting at 6.30pm. it will take place at The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian on Princes Street. All members are invited to attend and should RSVP by booking a ticket through our Eventbrite page. Rob Brown FCIPR – CIPR President Elect, founding chair of the Social Media Panel and managing partner of communications agency Rule 5 – will be our guest speaker for the evening. Rob will discuss the impact of digital and social channels on the profession. The AGM will consider the following agenda:

  • To receive apologies for absence
  • To approve the minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Thursday 10 March 2014 (Scotland AGM 2014 Minutes – Draft)
  • To consider and adopt the Annual Accounts (to be tabled)
  • To receive the report from the Chair of CIPR Scotland Group followed by questions
  • Election of Office Bearers. Applications are invited for the position of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer via the cipr-scotland-agm-2015-committee-nominations-form (Word doc) before noon on Monday 16 March 2015
  • Election of new Committee Members (nominations invited as above)
  • Chair priorities for 2015/16
  • To consider any other business

Doors open at 6pm. The meeting will start promptly at 6.30pm. Following the AGM drinks and refreshments will be served. A full agenda and copy of the annual report will be made available here ahead of the meeting. Any apologies should be sent to

Our response to recommendations for Register of Lobbying in Scotland

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Scottish parliamentThe Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee of the Scottish Parliament has published a recommendation for a Register of Lobbying in Scotland. The Committee examined the question of transparency in lobbying after the Scottish Government announced in June 2013 that it intended to legislate. The Committee is recommending that the Government uses its proposals as a basis for that legislation.

View the Committee’s recommendations

“This is a clear recommendation and should be welcomed as such by Scotland’s public affairs and public relations industry. CIPR members, who are committed to transparency, will want to positively engage with any structures put in place that genuinely improve public understanding of lobbying. We are particularly pleased that the Committee has recommended that registering and updating the register should be free, which echoes the CIPR recommendation that the Westminster Register is free of charge for at least the first year, which would give the industry clarity on a key compliance issue.

“The recommendation that organisations should register if they undertake significant lobbying activity creates the possibility of a register that would offer the public a reasonable range of information on corporate interests seeking to influence public policy, although we would prefer there to be no discrimination between in-house and commercial (consultant) lobbyists. The proposal for a code of practice for lobbyists and for the MSPs code of conduct to updated are balanced and not unwelcome. Moving forward, as the Government responds to this recommendation and considers the shape of the legislation, we hope they will take every opportunity to positively engage with lobbyists who work in Scotland, to develop a regime that meets clear objectives for building public confidence in our democratic structures.

“Since it seems very likely that there will be two registers in the UK, with the Westminster Register of Consultant Lobbyists due to open in March, we hope the Scottish Government will take the compliance burden on small businesses and sole traders in the sector in to account as they put their proposals together.”

Grant Thoms MCIPR, Chair of the CIPR Public Affairs (Scotland) Group

Our Response to the Inquiry into Lobbying

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The Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee held a debate on lobbying today in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament. The purpose of this was to allow other MSPs who are not on the Committee to share their views on the lobbying inquiry.

What we have done

The CIPR has produced the following statement which was shared during today’s session:

“Scotland’s Parliament has an opportunity to demonstrate how politics can allow and encourage the free exchange of information to make better policy and law. It can do this by working with the entire lobbying profession to offer a process through which the public can access more information about their work with policy makers, whether that is through a register or better disclosure of Ministerial and MSP diaries. The debate about transparency in lobbying has given way to one which focuses on professional standards. Any proposals should support the voluntary structures which regulate lobbyists and promote lobbying as a professional community.”

You can read our full debate briefing here (opens as PDF)

What you can do

The CIPR is committed to helping shape the future of lobbying in Scotland through the ongoing deliberations of the Scottish Parliament, by giving honest, but positive feedback and suggestions.

The Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee want to hear from stakeholders before, during and after the debate and are engaging through social media:

Twitter: follow @ScotParl and tweet using the hashtags #SPlobbying and #CIPR

Facebook: the committee want to gain your views and will share them with MSPs on

Contact members of the SPPA Committee and share your views here

Get more involved in the CIPR – You can contact the CIPR Public Affairs in Scotland Group by emailing