All 237 IPA shops are being set a deadline of March 2008 to commit fully to the continuous professional development of employees. Those failing to do so will face expulsion from the IPA.
The IPA council, which agreed to the move at its meeting on Friday, wants to send a clear signal to clients that it is serious about creating a highly qualified agency workforce capable of adding demonstrable value to their businesses.
Since December 2002 all new member agencies have had to agree to take part in the IPA's CPD programme.
This year, 155 agencies are taking part in the programme. Now, IPA chiefs are to meet with the other agencies not yet signed up, to ensure they fall into line.
John Banks, the chief executive of FCB London and chairman of the IPA membership committee, said the initiative was not the result of agencies backsliding on training, but was to assure clients of the calibre of agency staff.
"When clients choose an IPA agency they want to know they are dealing with highly professional people," he added. "Agencies that refuse to conform will be out."
The IPA will also tighten the rules regarding personal membership of the trade body. In future, IPA status will not be conferred unless an applicant has completed the IPA's foundation certificate or excellence diploma.
Stephen Woodford, the IPA president, said: "These changes send a very firm message to the business community."
- Perspective, page 21.