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The CIPR Public Affairs Group’s AGM took place last night at the Ellwood Atfield Gallery, electing Christine Quigley as Chair, with Leon Cook in the role of Vice-Chair.

Upon taking up office, Quigley said: “I'm honoured to become the new Chair of the CIPR's Public Affairs Committee, and look forward to working with our excellent new team for 2018. Over the next year, we will be working to raise the profile of the CIPR within the public affairs industry and to deliver engaging and effective training, events and support for our members” continuing that “All of us would like to pay tribute to outgoing chair Paul Beckford for his highly successful leadership over the past three years."

Beckford opened his Chair’s report noting that “our commitment to professional standards and our vision for the industry as open, transparent and inclusive is one that I know you all share and it is the committee’s intention that we can continue to drive forward best practice” and provided a round-up of the Group’s activities over the last 12 months which included:

  • Joint event with the Greater London Group: CIPR President Jason McKenzie & Steve Howell (MD of Waterfront Partnership) discussed the 2017 General Election campaign;
  • Summer Party: great partnership with PubAffairs, and the third year in a row we’ve secured Parliamentarians to speak at an event outside Westminster, together with special thanks to Michael Page Policy;
  • Annual Press Gallery event: joined by Katy Balls (Spectator) and Duncan Weldon (Resolution Foundation);
  • Christmas Party: further cementing our working relationship with PubAffairs;
  • Scottish Lobbying Briefing: Excellent event organised by Christine Quigley, providing a breakfast briefing session for members with the Scottish Lobbying Registrar to ensure that we’re up to date with the obligations on practitioners lobbying in Scotland;
  • CPD: Those Public Affairs Group members committed to CPD has increased significantly again -  with those participating in CPD activities rising by 18% from 276 to 326.

The evening was also addressed by CIPR President Sarah Hall, Robert Buckland MP and James Cleverly MP. Cleverly, Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, laid out the party's push to be better at asking supporters to join, and at communicating the benefits the party's policies bring, rather than listing policies' component parts. "If I listed the ingredients of a cake to you, you would eventually associate the words with cake. If, instead, I said I wanted to bake you a cake to thank you for having me here, you might be more bought in, and better understand my intentions". This approach, he said, would help the party gain popular support for long term, difficult policy decisions, such as the future of health and social care.

The Full Committee is as follows:

Chair: Christine Quigley (Associate Director & Head of Transport, Newington Communications)

Vice Chair: Leon Cook (Director, APCO Worldwide)

Laura Harvey (Deputy Director, Corporate Communications & Global Policy, Centrica)

Vernon Hunte (Associate Director, April Six Proof)

David Tripepi-Lewis (Head of Partnerships, Institute for Government)

Justine McGuinness (Quiller Consultants)

Lisa Poole (Director of Public Affairs, Centrica)

Samantha Wilding (Communications & Public Affairs Manager, B&CE)

Simon Markall (Head of Public Affairs & Engagement, Energy UK)

Lucy Gravatt (Communications & Engagement Manager, Hertfordshire LEP)

Robert Okunnu (Head of Communications, Water UK)

Emily Eldridge (External Affairs Manager, The Health Foundation)

Max Sugarman (Public Affairs & PR Manager, Railway Industry Association)

Peter Campbell (Account Manager, Westbourne Communications)