The objectives of the Institute, as stated, are to promote the development, recognition, and understanding of public relations; to establish and prescribe professional and ethical conduct and ensure the observance of such standards; to encourage the attainment of professional academic qualifications; to provide via meetings, conferences, seminars, and printed material information, discussion, and comment on all aspects of the practice of public relations; and to maintain two-way contact between the public relations profession in the United Kingdom and in other parts of the world.
The categories of membership are honorary life members, fellows, members, associates, retired members, overseas associates, affiliates, and student members.
The Institute is responsible for setting examinations, as a constituent member of the Communications Advertising and Marketing Foundation, for the CAM Certificate in Communication and the CAM Diploma in Public Relations.
The Institute itself holds meetings, discussions, debates, and film shows and facilitates visits and one-day and weekend conferences to increase members' knowledge of the theory and practice of public relations. A monthly newsletter is published. The Institute also encourages the formation of vocational and regional groups.
The Institute is recognized as a professional organization by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Membership depending on the category varies from 6 pounds a year for retired members to 30 pounds for fellows.
The code of professional conduct of the Institute of Public Relations of Great Britain is representative of the codes that attempt to secure such conduct from members of public relations associations. It is noted here because it presents to newcomers to the field the temptations they may encounter in their work. Its provisions give clear evidence of the social responsibility, high ethical conduct, and standards of behavior practitioners are expected to follow.
- Standards of professional conduct. This clause calls for respect for the public interest and the dignity of the individual in dealings with past or present clients or employers, with fellow members, with the media, and with the public.
- Dissemination of information. This clause prohibits the practitioner from knowingly disseminating false or misleading information and asserts his positive duty to maintain integrity and accuracy.
- This clause prohibits members from corrupting the integrity of the media.
- This clause requires adequate declaration of the organization with which the practitioner is associated and prohibits dissembling or misleading by promoting of dis-guised or undisclosed interests.
- Confidentiality of information. This clause asserts the necessity of confidentiality between client or employer and the practitioner (except under court order).
- This clause prohibits members from advising conflicting or competing interests without the express consent of the parties concerned.
- Sources of payment. This clause prohibits members from accepting payment for services from any source other than employer or client without express consent.
- This clause asserts that a member with a financial interest in an organization shall not recommend or make use of its services for employer or client without declaring his interest.
- Payment contingent upon achievement. This clause prohibits members from negotiating or agreeing to terms with a prospective employer or client on a contingency basis as to specific future public relations achievement.
- Supplanting another member. This clause requires that a practitioner approaching a potential employer or client take all reasonable steps to inquire whether another member is already employed by the prospect; under such circumstances it is his duty to advise the other member of such approach.
- Rewards to holders of public office. This clause forbids a member, with intent to further his interests or those of client or employer, to offer or give a reward to a person holding public office if such action is inconsistent with the public interest.
- Employment of Members of Parliament. This clause requires that a member disclose the fact that he has employed a Member of Parliament in an executive or consultative capacity, who will be entered in a register left for that purpose open to public inspection. The member of the Institute himself or the Member of Parliament shall be responsible for disclosing such information to the Di-rector of the Institute.
- Injury to members. This clause prohibits members from maliciously injuring the professional reputation or practice of other members.
- Instruction of members. This clause asserts that a member who causes or permits another person to act inconsistently with the Code is a party to such action and in breach of the Code.
- Reputation of the profession. This clause prohibits any member from conducting himself in any manner detrimental to the reputation of the Institute or of the public relations profession.
- Upholding the Code. This clause requires enforcement of the Code in every way and asserts that members have a duty to inform the Institute if they have reason to believe another member has breached the Code.
- Other professions. This clause requires members to respect the code of a client or employer who belongs to another profession.