Ex Cabinet Minister and former Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, Alan Milburn warned a lack of social cohesion was the greatest challenge facing UK society, at the CIPR‘s AGM in Newcastle last week.
“We’ve never been more divided by gender, income, race and age, and that threatens the cohesion of society,” said Milburn addressing a room of 50 PR professionals.
The former Chief Secretary to the Treasury added that “discombobulated politics” around Brexit detracted from serious issues facing large swathes of UK society.
“When 7 in 10 job offers in some professional firms go to those who’ve been privately educated it’s obvious the current playfield field is unbalanced,” said Milburn.
Despite the divisions, Milburn pointed to a growing appetite for social mobility amongst citiziens. He highlighted recent campaigns including the #MeToo movement as examples of grassroots initiatives driving social change.
Milburn said the responsibility for driving change ultimately fell to individuals and local communities. He urged professionals to look beyond Russell Group universities when hiring and offer “someone who isn’t a relative or a friend” the opportunity to intern.
Prior to the speech, CIPR Vice-President Jason MacKenzie Found.Chart.PR, FCIPR heralded a record-breaking year for the CIPR, which resulted in the Institute’s largest surplus in five years.
The 2017 President revealed plans to make the Chartered PR Practitioner process more accessible to members, while reaffirming the CIPR’s comitment to operate a “robust and rigorous” assessment process.
CIPR Chief Executive, Alastair McCapra updated members on the Institute’s proposed plans to relocate from its existing offices in Russell Square. The move – which will significantly reduce overheads – is expected to take place before the end of the year.