CIPS Fellows – Subsidised Or Overcharged? And Where Next For Fellowship?

Our article last week about the CIPS Fellows Royal Mail visit and the “Mail Rail” prompted some good comments, sparked off by a somewhat tongue in cheek comment from “Mr Grumpy” about CIPS subsidising the Fellows’ events.

But it did get us thinking about CIPS Fellowship, and with the new CIPS CEO coming on board soon, whether this is an area that he needs to think about. The temptation might be to say “no”, given other priorities, but without too much effort, we wonder if CIPS could get more out of the Fellowship?

Membership has grown strongly in recent years, but there is more potential. CIPS could still do more to publicise fellowship, and to make the process for applying more transparent. I have only met two people who applied and were rejected, but in each case I was surprised and in one of those amazed, given he is someone who has contributed more to the profession than 99% of CIPS members.

But misconceptions about what is needed to become a Fellow still abound. Having spoken to people who have thought about applying, and indeed written quite a few letters of support for applicants, I know there are still many MCIPS people who don’t think they are senior or experienced enough to apply. Most who have said that to me were wrong!

So some further publicity around what is needed to achieve fellowship should drive applications – and I do wonder if the application fee should be refunded if people aren’t successful.

Secondly, a look at the benefits for Fellows would be useful. Many Fellows apply really because they see the benefit to their career of having FCIPS rather than MCIPS after their name - nothing wrong with that. The social programme developed by Shirley Cooper and her team is also now a real draw, as we’ve said before. But what else do Fellows get for the additional £57 a year? Not a lot really. I also wonder whether a reduced fee level based on age might encourage Fellows to continue their involvement post retirement.

And finally, and most importantly perhaps, can CIPS and the profession get more out of Fellows? Think of the knowledge, experience, contacts and skills that reside in the cadre of Fellows. We’re not thinking about the management and governance of CIPS, but is there more around developing the professional knowledge base, encouraging people into the profession, supporting younger members or students … is there more that Fellows could contribute, which ideally might also be seen as a benefit to the individual of being a Fellow?

We don’t know the answer to this to be honest, but while the social side of fellowship is great, as is the career aspect (for those where that is still important), perhaps there is more around that contribution. So thanks again to Mr Grumpy for provoking this debate – and comments / ideas very welcome of course.

(And don’t miss the Fellows Wine Tasting evening on May 22nd  - details here, always a good event!)


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Voices (7)

  1. Alan Haynes:

    Interestingly, I was called by the GM CIPS in Australia today (9/5) (first time ever) who wanted to ‘reach out’. He mentioned the Spend Matters article. Prior to him calling there was an anonymous look at my LinkedIn profile by someone from CIPS Australia! Anyway, told me he thought he had met me once before (he has met me many times) and wanted to catch up again. Also mentioned the pending arrival of the new Boss in the UK. don’t now if this is the new ‘engagement’ process but hasn’t tugged at my heart yet! ON another subject the Institute of Managers and Leaders is rolling out its new Chartered Manger program (same as UK) – only this time there is advertising and engagement with the membership extolling its virtues. Does CIPS still have its Chartered program – haven’t heard anything about it for a while!

    1. Peter Smith:

      Delighted CIPS Australia is reading our articles! Chartered “programme” is still going, I believe, but I don’t think it has got much traction honestly, and it was very much one of David Noble’s favourite ideas, being linked to the “licence to practice” idea which also seems to have faded. Let’s see what Mr Harrison puts at the top of his priority list.

  2. Alan Haynes:

    Fellows should not be charged more that Members for membership. I do think that the CIPS culture is elitist and I am disappointed with their strategy, focus and general lack of contribution to the profession. There are many things they should be doing, but to be honest I don’t think they have enough genuine procurement professionals on the team. All of the part time contributors, the various committees, congress etc, do not have the time to take up the cudgels for solid professional advancement. Too much focus on revenue raising through the training,memberships and assorted fees. I have never been asked to contribute to voice of the customer type survey. Suggestions made often fall on deaf ears. Too many issues to mention – I do hope that the new bloke listens to the customers first before deciding on any future strategy. I am happy to chat with him.

  3. Mr Grumpy:

    Peter, some really useful insights. A recently appointed Fellow I know who more than fit the bill for FCIPS was rejected twice on the grounds of not having “director” in their job title despite the enormous work they did for CIPS as well as the profession and supporting growth of the profession through training and mentoring and that drove my elitism comment to a large part based on that individual experience.

    I agree with Fellows paying a membership rate more in line with Full Members, not just because of the lack of additional benefits, but I don’t believe financial penalisation is just reward for profession and career achievement. Would be like charging MBE’s/CBE’s and Knight and Dame hoods for the privilege of being recognised as such.

    I agree with the sentiment around reductions with age, however I think CIPS could go one better and actually offer those beyond working age free lifetime membership to keep them involved. Think we’ve all been there in some capacity watching experience go out of the door never to return and that knowledge being lost.

    I think a lot can be done to bring unity and a much more collaborative culture to all members of CIPS which would serve greater benefit to all and such can be learned through each channel.

    Re: Wine Tasting event. Make that mandatory for all CIPS events 😉

    1. Alan Haynes:

      Agree entirely.

  4. Dan:

    I think there’s a debate to had about whether MCIPS provides value for money, let alone FCIPS, but I think that would be a digression too far for this article.

    I haven’t looked at Fellowship in any great detail, but given most of the Fellows events seem to be in and around London, does the value depend on where in the country you live? You would appear to get less for your fees if you live outside this area.

    1. Alan Haynes:

      I am a Fellow in Australia, and apart from an annual Fellows dinner, held in conjunction with the annual CIPS conference, Fellows are treated no differently – and I would struggle to understand why they should be. Chris Gallagher tried to get something going but it was never followed up.

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