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Consultancy CMS

For more information contact:

Carol Magill


T: 07971 261 391


PRCA Matchmaker members are encouraged and incentivised to hold the Communications Management Standard (CMS) - the hallmark of PR excellence. CMS combines elements of ‘ISO9001’ and ‘Investors in People’ with criteria specific to a PR and communications consultancy. We introduced CMS in 1998, and updated it for the modern workplace in 2005 and 2012.

The nine core areas consultancies are scored on are:

  • Leadership & Communication
  • Business Planning
  • Business Improvement
  • Financial Management & Systems
  • Campaign Management
  • Client Satisfaction
  • New Business
  • People Management
  • Diversity

How does a PR agency benefit from CMS?

1. It is proof you have a well-run business with all the correct systems and structures in place.

  • A well-structured and accomplished senior management team that harnesses an effective internal and external communication system at all levels.
  • Clear business goals and objectives that are embraced at all levels. Objectives that are frequently reviewed and compared to performance to ensure continued agency-wide excellence.
  • Monthly management accounts have consistent and effective processes for calculating client fees, billing and credit control, and staff time management.

2. It demonstrates to your staff that you have a real commitment to their development.

  • Employee selection is based on needs of the position.
  • Employment includes an immediate induction, regular formal appraisals, personal development plans and training.
  • The company acknowledges the diversity and equality policy which demonstrates best practice and informs the recruitment process.

3. Clients have peace of mind that they are buying a professional service from a PR and communications company that is committed to excellence.

  • Client requirements are effectively captured, and used systematically to ensure delivery on client expectation.
  • Client satisfaction measurement systems address all elements of the service and implements improvements effectively.
  • CMS is often used for quality assurance purposes in government and public sector tenders. 

4. If you are looking to grow your business, CMS is an excellent tool for growth.

  • A consultancy has a proactive strategy for business development with effective systems for the management of its enquiries and sales.
  • CMS identifies areas of improvement and growth in all aspects of the business.

5. CMS brings new business advantages

  • CMS helps agencies distinguish themselves during the pitch process, and in the eyes of prospective clients and procurement.
  • CMS entitles an agency to access the Matchmaker service.

How does the CMS process work?

The CMS process works as follows:

  1. Please find below the CMS Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Assign points to the CMS Excel spreadsheet to indicate which criteria you fulfil, and send it back to Guidance notes are provided along with the criteria. The overall pass rate you need to meet is 75%, and you need above 75% in the first 8 sections. Unless this is your first CMS, you also need above 75% in section 9 (Diversity).
  3. Three subsections will be selected for sampling during the assessment. For example:
      1. section 2, subsection 1 – ‘Have a business plan’
      2. section 4, subsection 3 – ‘Have effective client billing and credit controls systems’
      3. section 6, subsection 2 – ‘Have the client satisfaction measurement effectively implemented’.
  4. We will prearrange a time with you for a moderation. At this time we will email you the three subsections we require evidence for - you will then have two and a half hours within which to send us the evidence (this is to prevent the creation of evidence upon request).
  5. If you fail to evidence any of these subsections (i.e. score less than 75% in the subsection), you will not have passed CMS. Passing all three subsections will entail passing CMS.
  6. Upon completion, we will be pleased to send you the CMS logo (for use on your website, email signatures and business cards) as well as a certificate.
  7. CMS is valid for one year before it needs to be renewed.

To view the Consultancy CMS criteria, please click here.

The cost for CMS varies between £499 - £1,650 depending on agency fee income. To find out the cost of CMS for your agency, or if you have any questions in general, please contact