As a member of the Professional Bodies Dialogue, the Chartered Insurance Institute is seeking to improve awareness of the work of professional bodies, says public affairs manager, Daniel Pedley.
What is the purpose of the Professional Bodies dialogue, and why did your organisation make the decision to join?
The Professional Bodies dialogue was born out of the want to improve the awareness and understanding of professional bodies amongst parliamentarians. In addition we wanted to gain a better idea of how professional bodies are viewed by MPs and Peers.
The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) joined the dialogue as it provides a new channel of engagement with those in Westminster and offers the opportunity to work with like-minded organisations.
The dialogue brings together expertise from across several professional bodies – why is collaborative working so important?
Although we are all professional bodies, each sector is different and presents its own challenges – therefore each participant is able to share their unique perception.
Working as a collective and having one voice, as opposed to a number of disparate ones, is important when putting our message across. Despite covering vastly differing professions there is enough common ground to be able to put forward a coherent argument that cannot be ignored.
How do professional bodies help in the creation and promotion of a competitive UK workforce?
Professional bodies play a vital role in promoting the development of skills, both within our respective professions and in the UK as a whole (via engagement with national policy development). An excellent example of this is the Aldermanbury Declaration which provides a framework for professionalism within the insurance profession. A large number of firms have voluntarily signed up to this and in doing so have committed to raising skill levels.
For more visit: www.cii.co.uk/skills& www.cii.co.uk/aldermanburydeclaration
Do you think professional bodies are sometimes overlooked by the government, in the part they can play in promoting and up-skilling the UK workforce?
Certainly in the past professional bodies have not been afforded the recognition for our work in this area – despite our long track record in supporting our respective sectors.
It is worth remembering that we exist at no cost to the public purse. We are funded by our members and those undertaking our exams and training. This support has been sustained over many years and if we were not offering the sector what it wanted, our customers would simply go elsewhere.
Why now in a time of austerity is it so important to look at up-skilling and the level of competitiveness of the UK workforce?
We need our workforce to have the right skills not only to support a recovery but also to sustain it and boost competitiveness in the long-term. Many people take short-term decisions when it comes to training budgets but these often have longer-term consequences that are more costly to address.
What can professional bodies contribute when it comes to supporting policy formulation?
In many cases, like the CII, professional bodies have a long history and so are able to contribute this experience to the policy making process. The unique nature of professional bodies also means that we are close to both our members and to employers and as a result are able to marshal the opinion of large parts of our industry. Our specialisation enables us to offer detailed knowledge and insight into specific areas that others cannot.
As a professional body in whose interests are you acting?
As a body bound for a century by Royal Charter the public interest is at the heart of everything we do.
In your own words what is a professional body?
A modern professional body has to have at its core the public interest. We at the CII are committed to transforming ourselves into a modern professional body capable of engendering trust and building the professional reputation of our sector. In doing so we are raising professional standards, making the case for professional education, embedding continuing education and focusing on behaviour as well as knowledge.