Communications Management Standard (CMS) is the mark of communications professionalism worldwide. Created by the PRCA, it is based on ISO 9001 and Investors In People, with criteria tailored specically to the needs of in-house PR and communications teams.
The eight key areas in-house teams are scored on are:
- Leadership & Communication
- Project Management
- Business Planning
- Monitoring satisfaction
- Business Improvement
- People Management
- Budgetary Management Systems
- Project Management Systems
How does a PR in-house team benefit from CMS?
1. It’s proof you have a well-run in-house communications team 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. If you are looking to grow your business, CMS is an excellent tool for growth.
- An In-house team has a proactive strategy for business improvement with effective systems for the management of its projects and people.
- CMS identifies areas of improvement and growth in all aspects of the business.
How does the CMS process work?
The CMS process works as follows:
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the CMS Excel spreadsheet.
- Assign points to the CMS Excel spreadsheet to indicate which criteria you fulfil, and send it back to email@example.com. 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 7 sections. Unless this is your first CMS, you also need above 75% in section 8 (Diversity).
- Three subsections will be randomly selected from amongst the subsections you claim to fulfil above 75%. For example:
- section 2, subsection 1 – ‘Does the PR and communications team have a strategic communications plan?’
- section 5, subsection 3 – ‘Is there an effective planning system to ensure delivery to pre-set expectation levels?’
- section 6, subsection 2 – ‘Does the organisation's satisfaction measurement address all elements of the service?’.
- 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 hours within which to send us the evidence (this is to prevent the creation of evidence upon request).
- 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.
- 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.
- CMS is valid for two years before it needs to be renewed.
To view the In-house CMS criteria, please click here.
To find out the cost of CMS for your in-house communications team, or if you have any questions in general, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.