A look back at #EthicsFest

In October the CIPR held its first Ethics Festival (#EthicsFest) to champion ethical conduct in public relations and promote the ethical responsibilities of PR professionals.


The CIPR’s primary objective as outlined in its Royal Charter is “to promote for the public benefit high levels of skill, knowledge, competence, and standards of practice and professional conduct on the part of public relations practitioners”. Ethics Festival aimed to educate practitioners on how ethics can impact day-to-day PR practice.

Here’s a looks back at some of the highlights from October:


  • To coincide with the launch of Ethics Festival the CIPR published Integrity a comprehensive guide to the Institute’s Code of Conduct, which sets out why you cannot be professional without being ethical. It also translates the meaning of the Code’s four key principles of integrity, competence, transparency and confidentiality in terms of day-to-day practice.
  • The CIPR Ethics Hotline was relaunched. Members are invited to call 0207 631 6969 anonymously for advice on ethical dilemmas
  • Laura Sutherland and Gavin Harris co-produced a skills guide on the Ethics of Paid and Earned Media. The guide capture1provides an overview of the PESO model and the ethical considerations for practitioners working across earned and paid media.
  • The ethical Decision Tree was launched by the CIPR’s Professional Practices Committee (PPC) to help members think through difficult ethical decisions. The tree – which acts like a flow chart – is at a consultative stage and the PCC are keen to hear suggestions and comments.

Live events:

  • Protecting reputation: the legal issues and remedies – On 12 October, the CIPR’s Corporate and Financial group organised a fascinating event on defamation featuring defamation lawyer David Summerhayes. A blog by David reflecting on the importance of defamation for PR professionals can be found here.
  • #CommsChat on Ethics – On 17 October, the CIPR partnered with CommsChat for a real-time online discussion exploring the ethical dilemmas faced by PR practitioners. Public relations and marketing professionals from around the world joined the forum to share thoughts and suggestions on ethical practice and grey areas. A summary of the discussion is available here.


  • Ethics in PR On 20 October, CIPR Scotland hosted an event with the first Chair of the CIPR’s Professional Standards Panel. Drawing on real-life case studies, Jane Cumming outlined explained the process of how the CIPR Code of Conduct can be breached and how complaints are dealt with. During the interactive session, delegates were presented with different ethical scenarios and asked to vote for the choice they’d make.

  • Corporate Snakes and Career Ladders The Institute’s Greater London Group hosted an interactive game of snakes and ladders at Hotwire PR by assembling practitioners into teams to consider different ethical approaches. This game, developed by Casilda Malagón and Stephen Welch galvanised the thoughts of delegates around the various business dilemmas. Learn more about the outcome of the event here.


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