Forgive me for navel gazing, but I do sometimes wonder whether the people “in charge” of my profession actually work in it and ever think about the  reputation of Public Relations itself.

The news this week that the two professional bodies for PR – the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) are at loggerheads made me think of the saying “physician heal thyself”.

For the first time the PRCA is opening up to individual members – a direct threat to the CIPR which has always focussed on recruiting individuals. The result is a break down in relations between the two bodies, which were reportedly seeking closer co-operation earlier in the year.

I can understand how commercial and organisational pressures have  brought this about, but as a practitioner myself I find it sad that the two professional bodies for PR are being driven into a very public spat about membership  rather than focussing on the wider good of the profession and their members.

PR is still a widely misunderstood discipline – confused with advertising, conflated with marketing and tarred with the legacy of propaganda. At a time when budgets are being cut, and organisations restructured there has never been a more important time for PR to be represented at the “top table” – yet we are busying ourselves with fratricidal conflict.

I’m sure members of both bodies, whether individuals or consultancies, would rather see constructive campaigns by their professional bodies to help build public understanding of PR aimed at increasing demand for our professional services,  than headlines about membership turf wars.