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PRCA - Agency CMS booklet


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PRCA - Agency CMS booklet

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PRCA - Agency CMS booklet

  1. 1. PRCACommunicationsManagementStandard (CMS)for Agencies
  2. 2. PRCA ContentsCommunications Introduction 4Management The Communications Management Standard 6Standard (CMS) 1 Leadership & Communication 8for Agencies 2 Business Planning 10 3 Business Improvement 12 4 Financial Management & Systems 16 5 Campaign Management 18 6 Client Satisfaction 20 7 New Business 22 8 People Management 24 Redfin 28 A Guide To The Audit Process 30 Frequently Asked Questions 32PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES 3
  3. 3. Introduction Communications Management Standard “ MS has now C Business Planning The consultancy must prove that its business plan is a realistic, long-term (CMS) is the mark of communications been adopted by programme based on a clear view of its direction and potential. It must define business goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-framed. professionalism worldwide. 15 international The plan must be used systematically by management to run the business. Created by the PRCA in 1997, it is based on ISO 9001 and Investors In People, PR professional Business Improvement with criteria specifically tailored to the needs of public relations consultancies. bodies...” CMS demands a programme of continuous business improvement, with evidence of long-term goals and the steps the consultancy is Independently audited on a regular basis by Redfin Management taking to achieve them. The standard’s key values are trust, excellence, LLP (Redfin), CMS is the accepted kitemark of PR excellence and professionalism, growth, development, enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism. It helps to enhance the efficiency and profitability of PR ownership. All of these affect the quality of the consultancy’s service to clients consultancies, while also assuring both clients and employees that audited and must measurably be enhanced over a three-to-five year timescale. firms are properly run, and are accountable. Financial Systems Consultancies that wish to be part of The PRCA’s ‘Find A PR Agency’ The consultancy’s systems are evaluated on financial forecasting and (FAPRA), or ‘Find A PA Agency’ (FAPAA) service need to have passed a management of financial fundamentals. Checks and balances must be in CMS Audit within the last two years, in order to benefit from the wide range place, enabling the consultancy to withstand periods of low or negative of new business opportunities managed by the PRCA. CMS has now been economic growth. Key financial information is scrutinised by the senior team adopted by 15 international PR professional bodies. to ensure that the consultancy can and does invest in its future. CMS covers eight key business areas: Campaign Management The consultancy must demonstrate systems for planning and managing Leadership Communication programmes against agreed targets as well as for measuring and evaluating The auditors look for evidence that the consultancy is well-managed. results -where possible- in terms of ROI. Responsibilities of the senior team must be defined clearly, and communicated effectively to all employees. The competencies required within Client Satisfaction the senior team should have been identified and appraised formally. Effective Client Satisfaction must be tracked on a consistent and continuous basis to leadership requires good communications inside and outside the consultancy. ensure that consultancies continue to exceed client expectations. Evidence of a communication strategy will therefore be sought.4 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES 5
  4. 4. The PRCA Public Affairs Register: 900 professionals registered“Ensure that New Business There must be proof that the consultancy conducts negotiations with new 100 organisations registered consultancies clients and offers service agreements which reflect the high standards 1200 clients named expected by the professional Codes of the PRCA, and complies with continue to current best practise in the public relations profession. exceed client Agencies People Management expectations....” The consultancy must have a clearly defined and universally understood In-house teams system of appraisal, training and career development for all employees. Freelancers Evidence must be given that high standards and an appropriate level of investment are in place at every stage from recruitment onwards. Accurate To attain the standard, consultancies must score at least 75% overall. A detailed breakdown of the scoring under each section will be provided Transparent with this briefing document, this will assist in the preparation for the audit. Up-to-date Following the audit, Redfin will submit a detailed report to the consultancy, including a full breakdown of their performance in each of the eight areas against the detailed breakdown of the scoring. The re-assessment period for CMS is every two years. You need a pretty good excuse not to be on it! CMS International PRCA CMS International has been added in order to audit PR consultancies for their international capacity. Other elements will also be looked at from an international aspect e.g. risks, external communication, client satisfaction, To join contact: people management. To qualify for the CMS international certification, PRCA members need to score 75% in this element. The scope of international T: 020 7233 6026 activities and participating offices will be included in the PRCA member’s CMS international certificate upon successful completion of the audit. MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE6 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES
  5. 5. 1Leadership and 1.1 1.2 1.3 should be communicated, “All management Have the management structure What leadership skills do you Is there a system to ensure as well as timescales for its Communication and responsibilities been look for within your Senior effective communication to communication. External responsibilities defined and communicated Team. (up to 10 points) internal and external parties? in a way that the wider team will (up to 10 points) stakeholders will typically include: shareholders, the should be understand. (up to 10 points) The consultancy should be media, the local community, defined...” able to list the key behavioural The consultancy should have clients, new business agencies, All management responsibilities competencies/skills required defined and implemented government agencies, non- should be defined and for each of the senior team a strategy to cover its government agencies, trade communicated throughout the roles, and show where they communication to internal and associations, professional consultancy so that the whole are included within the job external stakeholders. bodies and educational team understands them. description. They should also be establishments. Internal A communication strategy is able to demonstrate the senior stakeholders will Communication can be defined in Wikipedia as follows: team’s use of the competencies/ be all staff employed within achieved through the use of ‘’a communication strategy is a skills via the individual’s the consultancy. organograms, management plan that details how information annual appraisal and personal structure diagrams, job and role and issues are presented in The communication strategy development plan. descriptions etc., and should order for people to understand should document the above demonstrate the appropriate and respond to them. It is along with the appropriate1 division of responsibility a selection of appropriate authorisation levels for different between individual members of communication objectives by levels of communication. the management team. which information relating to an The consultancy will need organisation is communicated The consultancy should be to demonstrate that the both externally and internally.’’ able to demonstrate that this communication strategy is has been communicated and The strategy should include understood and is being understood by the whole team. the types of issues and followed by the consultancy. This could be achieved by news information that carrying out an employee survey.8 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES 9
  6. 6. 2Business 2.1 • ew and existing market N 2.2 2.4 2.5 Does the consultancy have a opportunities Does the business plan define Is the consultancy’s Is the business plan reviewedPlanning business plan? (up to 10 points) • inancial goals and objectives F clear goals and objectives? performance compared to regularly for adequacy? (e.g. target fee income, (up to 10 points) the business plan’s goals and (up to 10 points) The consultancy must profitability etc.) objectives? (up to 10 points) demonstrate a business plan • usiness goals and B The plan should define It is up to the consultancy to that sets out the short-term and objectives (e.g. ranking in business goals and objectives It is important that the determine the frequency of the long-term goals and objectives the marketplace, sector and that are SMART: consultancy’s performance business plan reviews, but they for the consultancy. This specialist offerings etc.) is monitored and compared should be sufficient to cover • Specific plan must be the engine that • ny major improvement A against the goals and objectives the period of the business plan, • Measurable drives the search for continual projects established in the business plan. i.e. an annual plan should be • Achievable improvement. The business plan • dentification of future I Depending on the specific goals reviewed quarterly or at least six • Realistic is normally produced annually resource requirements as and objectives, this comparison monthly, and long-term goals • Time-framed and is developed alongside and well as associated training, can be carried out monthly, (three to five years) should be reviewed against the consultancy’s recruitment, IT etc. quarterly or annually. reviewed annually. statement of visions, values and 2.3 To help achieve the plan, At review, it may be necessary long term improvement activities. To what extent is the business any deviations in goals and to change the business plan See section 3.1. plan communicated to all levels of objectives between current due to external influences (e.g.2 The business plan will typically the consultancy? (up to 10 points) performance and desired changing market circumstances) include the following: performance should be or internal influences (e.g. It may not be appropriate to reviewed, and corrective action change in business direction, • Summary of market trends communicate the entire business should be taken where possible. loss of key personnel or loss or • inancial status of the F plan to all employees, but at the Minutes should be prepared gain of clients). The consultancy consultancy very least, the consultancy must recording deviations from should produce evidence of • n analysis of strengths, A be able to demonstrate that the the plan, the reasons for the such review processes in the weaknesses, threats and key goals and objectives have deviations, and any action taken. minutes of the review meetings. opportunities been communicated throughout the consultancy.10 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES 11
  7. 7. 3Business 3.1 This statement should ideally • resentation of improvement P other consultancies, in consultancy or within a group Does the consultancy have a be developed with employee ideas at team meetings/team order to position the company of consultancies.Improvement clear vision and set of values involvement and signed development workshops consultancy against the rest • ompetitive – against C shaping its purpose and long- by senior management. It • Best practice workshops of the industry e.g. the PRCA competitors, e.g. other term goals? (up to 10 points) needs to be underpinned by • ontinuous improvement C Benchmarking Survey. consultancies or sector strategies and policies that groups • rocess – identifying best P specialists. The vision and key values for address proactive, long-term practice processes, and the consultancy will typically improvement consistent with the • eneric – against companies G comparing the consultancy’s be expressed as a simple consultancy’s business plan. 3.3 in other industries, e.g. processes against them, e.g. statement of the overall Does the consultancy carry out management consultants, PRCA Best Practice Papers, aims and objectives of the benchmarking as a means to brand or change consultancies. or the latest HR industry data consultancy. They should 3.2 business improvement? on graduate recruitment. directly link with the long- term To what extent does the (up to 10 points) goals of the consultancy. consultancy involve staff at all • trategic – identifying S 3.4 levels in business improvement Benchmarking is defined in the strategic policies Is there a system to manage The consultancy’s vision activities. (up to 10 points) Wikipedia as: of competitors, and major improvement projects? statement is an important comparing the consultancy’s (up to 10 points) component of its brand ‘’the process of comparing The consultancy should involve strategies against them, definition and may refer something or someone with staff in improvement initiatives,3 i.e. benchmarking your Examples of major improvement to the following elements: best practice.’’ in order to foster their ownership acquisition or growth strategy projects would include: IT or client satisfaction, people and commitment. The consultancy should define against key competitors. capital investment, developing management, performance, key clearly what it will compare, and new markets, and the launch of values, and quality of service. Examples of business With regard to “Whom to whom to compare against. a new service. improvement activities are: compare against”, there Key values may be expressed On “What to Compare” there are are the following types of The project’s system should as trust, excellence, • Suggestion schemes three types of benchmarking: benchmarking: include: professionalism, growth, • Away days development, enthusiasm, • Competitions • erformance – comparing P • Internal – against different • ign off for the preparation S commitment and ownership. • Recognition schemes performance levels against teams and division within a of a project plan12 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES 13
  8. 8. 3 Business Improvement continued Make the right choice • A project plan to include: • Defined responsibilities information is communicated up and down the consultancy’s “Trust, We know that PRCA training is the very best. We offer the best • Establishment of procedures structure. Key business excellence, courses by the best trainers. • to fulfil plans Defined approval stages information includes: professionalism, throughout the project • usiness improvement B activities growth, So why don’t you check out what • Milestones and deliverables we have to offer? What have you • inal review and sign off of F • Review of business plans development, got to lose? • Management accounts the plan • eview of campaign R enthusiasm, • Implementation plan Full Day management activities commitment and PRCA Member £305+VAT Projects implemented must be • eview of client satisfaction R consistent with those included performance ownership...” Non Member £370+VAT within the business plan. • Service delivery performance • ecruitment, development R Half Day and retention of personnel. PRCA Member £170+VAT 3.5 Non Member £215+VAT The system should identify Is there a system for collecting, clearly what meetings are Online Training reviewing and utilising key held, and detail their scope, PRCA Member £95+VAT information to increase frequency, agenda and management control and Non Member £120+VAT attendance. It should ensure maximise business efficiency? that the information is of (up to 10 points) appropriate quality, on time and communicated to the T: 020 7233 6026 Management should identify necessary personnel. and manage all key business information, and define the system to ensure that necessary14 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES
  9. 9. 4Financial 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Does the consultancy prepare Does the consultancy have a Does the consultancy have Does the consultancy have Does the consultancy have anManagement adequate monthly management consistent and effective process effective client billing and effective systems and processes effective system for control ofand Systems accounts? (up to 10 points) for calculating fees for client credit controls systems? to manage staff time and to capital? (up to 10 points) work? (up to 10 points) (up to 10 points) report on utilisation and over/ The consultancy should produce under client servicing? It is recommended that every regular relevant financial The consultancy should The consultancy should (up to 10 points) consultancy maintains a cash management information, demonstrate that there is a demonstrate that is has effective balance equal to at least 3 for example: profit and loss standard process for preparing systems to ensure accurate The consultancy should months of the monthly overhead accounts, balance sheets, client fee proposals. This should and regular client invoicing demonstrate systems and cost. Although this is not debtors, key ratios/indicators include details of how estimates takes place, and that there processes that provide a requirement of CMS, the and benchmarking. This are made of expected time on is a process to chase client appropriate control over the consultancy should be able information should compare the client work, which may include payment within the consultancy management of staff resources demonstrate systems for control actual results with the business for example discussing the work payment terms. The consultancy on client and non-client work. of capital such as: cash flow plan, to track performance involved in advance with the should make available relevant Plus, that there is a process for controls, investment decisions, against the business goals (as proposed team or reviewing information, for example: billing regular review and sharing over/ equity management, and included in 2.4 above), as well past time records on similar and credit control procedures, under-servicing information within currency controls. as including monthly forecasts work. Proposals should either examples of notes on the consultancy so that action of fees by client and profitability be prepared by the senior team, outstanding debts, client credit can be taken where appropriate.4 for the following 3-6 months. or signed off by them prior to evaluations, aged debtor lists them being sent to the client. and, if applicable, evidence of provision for bad debts.16 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES 17
  10. 10. 5Campaign 5.1 5.2 5.3 selection, approval and of the campaign plan, so that Does the consultancy have an Does the consultancy have Does the consultancy have monitoring to ensure adequate clients’ requirements are met,Management effective system for capturing an effective planning system effective information control? and consistent of service. An and that the consultancy’s client requirements? to ensure delivery to client (up to 10 points) effective system may include reputation is maintained or (up to 10 points) expectation? (up to 10 points) the following: enhanced. The consultancy The consultancy should should identify and agree with • rocesses for evaluation, P From receipt of the client’s The consultancy must have effective systems for the client the most appropriate approval and review (to brief (whether an existing client demonstrate use of planning the identification of critical forms of performance evaluation include credit checking, or a new business enquiry), activities such as: information, for example: such as setting the key professional indemnity the consultancy should have electronic and manual filing, performance indicators, critical • Pre-campaign research insurance etc.) systems in place to capture handling, back-up, retrieval, success factors, milestones and • Campaign planning • Approved lists of suppliers client requirements covering: disposal and security. Critical deliverables. (See 5.1) • llocation and availability A • Performance monitoring information will include: • easons for the client R of appropriate resources: • vidence of partnering and E email/ paper correspondence, Where performance falls short changing consultancy time, competent personnel, building relationships with approvals, photography, logos, of expectations, appropriate • Client’s objectives and budget preferred suppliers. proposals, plans, complaints, corrective action should be • ritical success factors – the C • Development of strategy reports and invoices. identified and taken. Significant key activities necessary to • ommunications processes: C failures should be investigated ensure a successful campaign points of contact, feedback 5.5 fully to identify the root cause,5 • Key performance indicators on progress and meetings. Does the consultancy monitor 5.4 and system improvement • Milestones and deliverables campaign performance and Does the consultancy ensure activities initiated to prevent • Client approval processes take appropriate actions? the consistent delivery of re-occurrence. Evidence (up to 10 points) services by suppliers? of campaign performance (up to 10 points) monitoring will include: status The consultancy should reports, minutes of internal demonstrate regular campaign The consultancy must meetings, and minutes of performance measurement to demonstrate that its suppliers client meetings. ensure effective implementation go through a process of18 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES 19
  11. 11. 6Client 6.1 The system should indicate • nderstanding the client’s U consultancy, and action points “Ensure that Does the consultancy have the frequency of the review expectation agreed with staff as appropriate.Satisfaction a system to measure client activities, the forms of • eeting the client’s M It is important that results of the client’s satisfaction? (up to 10 points) measurement being used and it should set key performance expectation • Communication with the client the surveys are communicated back to clients, and individual perception The consultancy should indicators for client satisfaction. • Market knowledge feedback may be appropriate of the have a system for measuring • Creativity with particular clients. client satisfaction, which The consultancy must • Strategic thinking consultancy’s document the outputs from its encompasses all clients. This client review system. • Team work service system should be appropriate • Timeliness of delivery 6.4 to the size of consultancy and • Quality of service delivery Does the consultancy matches their the complexities of the client 6.2 • lient’s overall perception of C periodically compare client expectation...” relationships. the service provided satisfaction across accounts? Does the client satisfaction (up to 10 points) The system will typically include measurement address all some of the following activities: elements of the service? 6.3 The consultancy should conduct (up to 10 points) • Regular review meetings Is the client satisfaction regular management reviews • egular informal meeting R measurement implemented of overall client satisfaction In order to ensure that the client’s or lunches effectively? (up to 10 points) performance through the6 perception of the consultancy’s • ormal annual or six F consultancy. This should be service matches their monthly reviews The consultancy must at least every six months expectation, it is important for • erception surveys/ P demonstrate that client and include trend analysis the consultancy to understand questionnaires satisfaction is measured against of satisfaction levels across all aspects that will impact on • Complaints systems the performance targets set in accounts and account teams. client satisfaction. The client • eviews from other account R 6.1 above, and that actions are It should also address how review system should measure directors within the consultancy taken as a result. Results must effective the system is in the consultancy’s performance be communicated throughout the monitoring client satisfaction. service levels on the following:20 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES 21
  12. 12. 7New Business 7.1 The strategy may also include 7.2 “ he consultancy must be able to T Does the consultancy have a plan for different sectors. Does the consultancy have a strategy for business This will be required when an effective system for the demonstrate an effective process development, to achieve its management of its enquiries goals and objectives? target market sectors requiring different development strategies and sales? (up to 10 points) for the handling and management (up to 10 points) have been identified, e.g. where of all enquiries, proposals, a consultancy has identified that The consultancy must be able The business development it would like to move into to demonstrate an effective credentials meetings, pitches, strategy must be derived a new sector or specialist process for the handling and contracts and sales....” from the goals and objectives service offering. management of all enquiries, outlined in the consultancy’s proposals, credentials meetings, business plan. The strategy will pitches, contracts and sales. An include the following: effective system will include: • arketing plans (to include M • ogging, handling, follow-up L how leads will be generated and closing of all enquiries as well as how additional and proposals work could be obtained from • ssue and signing of the PRCA I existing clients) standard consultancy contract7 • efined responsibilities D to all new clients with targets • nalysis of successful and lost A • usiness cases, i.e. analysis B credential meetings and pitches of the market or sector • riefings to new business B opportunities agencies and intermediaries • Performance monitoring • anagement of prospect M • ommunication of the C relationships including database strategy to the full team maintenance and periodic review of lost pitches and accounts.22 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES 23
  13. 13. 8People 8.1 8.2 • Human resources The consultancy will on what training is required to Are the processes for selection Is a general induction conducted • Health and safety determine the frequency of meet business needs, ratherManagement of prospective employees for new employees in their first • Pension and finance issues formal appraisals, but must than what individuals would like determined according to the week of employment – if so, • P RCA Professional Charter demonstrate the occurrence of to be trained in. needs of the position? is it signed when completed and Codes of Conduct appraisals, review of follow-up A training needs analysis will (up to 10 points) by the employee, and are exit • RCA Communications P action and that it feeds into the include a review of tasks and interviews conducted when staff Management Standard consultancy’s recognition and job descriptions and a review of The consultancy should leave. (up to 10 points) reward systems for retention of Where exit interviews are carried existing competencies to assess demonstrate that its recruitment key staff. out, they should be conducted what technical and behavioural is determined on the needs The content of the induction by a person that is independent training is required. of the position. This can be will vary depending on the of their line manager. shown through the use of: position of the new employee 8.4 The consultancy should job descriptions, role profiles, and may include introduction Does the consultancy conduct demonstrate that personal competence analysis, capability to the following: training needs’ analysis, and development plans for individual 8.3 analysis, consultancy values and are personal development plans staff match the consultancy’s • onsultancy background, C Does the consultancy have a training and development plans. prepared based on the training training needs analysis. Effective values and credentials formal appraisal system? needs? (up to 10 points) personal development plans will The employee selection • he make-up of the T (up to 10 points) contain SMART objectives and methods used by the team, with individual line The consultancy should8 targets for employee training consultancy may include: management and reporting The consultancy should demonstrate that it conducts a and development. structures demonstrate that it has a formal • Review of qualifications needs analysis to identify the • Relevant clients appraisal system which is The consultancy should give • Relevant experience training necessary for specific • nternal systems and I designed to review performance evidence through records of • sychometric/personality P roles within the consultancy. The processes against the personal objectives training delivery for both internal profiling training needs’ analysis should • Client handling system and targets of each member and external training activities. • esting of PR and other T be sufficient to implement the • riteria and methods for C of staff. These objectives and relevant skills business plan at company, team campaign planning, research targets will include both business • Structured interviews and individual levels. It will focus and evaluation and personal development.24 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES 25
  14. 14. 8 People Management continued Over the past few years, one PR membership body has taken the NLA to court. Won the Government contract and established PR apprenticeships. Referred around £1m a month in new business to members. Produced a balanced budget every year. Introduced modular qualifications. Provided 8.5 8.6 for the individual, a structured interactive training webinars globally. Established Is training performed in Is best practice followed training plan, as well as exit an Access Commission on diversity in the industry. accordance with personal for flexible working of staff interviews on leaving. The development plans and are and employing interns? consultancy’s website should Published the first PR Census with PR Week. Put the training courses consistent (up to 10 points) include all internship and on hundreds of completely free member events. across the consultancy? graduate recruitment policies. Introduced the designatory letters MPRCA denoting (up to 10 points) Following the recommendations Interns should also be adherence to a Code of Conduct. Maintained an of the PRCA Access independent and accurate Public Affairs Register. paid at least the National The consultancy should Commission, consultancies demonstrate through its training are expected to adhere to Minimum Wage. Partnered with 12 leading universities. Has trebled records that there is evidence certain best practice principles in size. Has led our industry. of the training provided, and for flexible working and that it is in line with personal employing Interns. That organisation is the PRCA. development plans. The auditor The consultancy should be will ask for verification of training activities through written able to demonstrate that best And now you can join us if you’re a consultancy. practice is being followed in Join us if you’re an in-house team. Or join us if proof of attendance, provided these areas, by ensuring there by training providers. are flexible working policies in you’re an individual. The consultancy should place for staff to request: part- demonstrate that there is time work, working from home, Make the right choice. Join the PRCA. consistency of training across and flexibility around paternity the business, especially in and maternity leave. client-facing and people- To join contact: For interns, the consultancy will management areas. be required to demonstrate that T: 020 7233 6026 there is full line management PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE
  15. 15. RedfinManagement Redfin Management LLP (Redfin) is a PRCA Three Point business that specialises in advising Quality Promise PR agencies and a range of other marketing communications agencies The PRCA three point training Full Day quality promise: PRCA Member £305+VAT in business management. Non Member £370+VAT 1 he average feedback score given by T Redfin is proud to be involved with the PRCA, and to play an active role in delegates on the course will be publicly Half Day both the auditing of PRCA members, and in the future development of the displayed on the new PRCA training PRCA Member £170+VAT Communications Management Standard. website within 24 hours of completion Non Member £215+VAT 2 f any PRCA trainer scores below 8/10 I Online All Redfin’s auditors have worked within PR agencies, so understand how twice in a year, the trainer’s PRCA PRCA Member £95+VAT they work and the issues they face. Their background covers a variety of approved status will be reviewed Non Member £120+VAT disciplines including business management; account handling, finance and HR. Heather Scales is available to discuss any questions you may 3 e promise to give you a free webinar W Get connected have regarding the Communications Management Standard, she can be course if you are not satisfied by the @PRCAtraining, join contacted on the following: learning outcomes of the training* our growing community and #haveyoursay Heather Scales: Get connected at our new and T 0207 060 0242 improved PRCA Training portal getconnected T: 020 7233 6026 | * ased on the course not meeting the description B on the new PRCA website and training brochure. Applies at time of publication.28 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE
  16. 16. A Guide To The We suggest that you first go through “Rate your The purpose of the meeting is to explain how the audit will be carried out and reported, and to answer any questions there might be. You can inviteAudit Process the CMS document and the detail consultancy as few or as many people as you want to this meeting. scoring template associated with it. against the It is useful to provide the auditor with a room or desk that they can return This will allow you to rate your consultancy against the criteria. If you are criteria...” to during the audit, to write notes or plan the next interviews. satisfied that your company will meet the criteria, and the pass rate 75% Typically, the day will start with the senior management looking at Business overall, then please contact Heather Scales on either 0207 060 0242 or Planning, Financial Management Systems, Leadership, Business, , who will provide you with a quotation and Improvement, People Management etc. The remainder of the time is spent book a convenient date for the audit. sampling the accounts and clients selected, and sitting with the people and teams involved, usually at their desks as most of the information will be held Preliminary Gap Analysis (optional) on their computers. You can if you wish, opt for a preliminary assessment/gap analysis. This can range from a few hours to a whole day visit by a Redfin auditor to discuss all It would be useful to have ready some of your standard documentation at the elements of the Standard, assess your state of readiness, discuss areas the start of the audit, for example if applicable: of interpretation, and generally answer any questions you may have about the process. This may assist you in your final preparations. It is an optional • The business plan service at additional cost, and Redfin can provide a quotation on request. • Mission and values statement • Business strategy documents not included within the business plan Once you have agreed with the PRCA that you are ready for your first audit, or • M anagement accounts and other regular management information that a renewal audit is due, Redfin will contact your nominated representative including aged debtors and aged creditors and agree a mutually convenient date for the visit. Redfin will agree the date • O rganogram or list of management, and staff structures and responsibilities and time for the audit and all of the details will normally be confirmed in writing • Internal process or ‘ways of working’ documents (including, when appropriate, details of any fees due). The number of audit days • Staff handbook will depend on the size and turnover of the consultancy. • New joiner induction pack • E vidence of regular management and staff meetings, forum and communication On the day/first day of the audit, the auditor will arrive at the agreed time • L ist of current staff, with joining dates and leaving dates over the last 6 months and there will be an opening meeting of approximately 15 minutes duration. • Client list and associated account teams30 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES 31
  17. 17. FrequentlyAsked Q: Q: Q: fully inclusive of all attributable Q: How can we best prepare What help and advice can we How do we arrange an audit expenses. Most audits last for Do we need to prepare a folder/Questions for the Communications get during the preparation when we think we are ready? half or one day’s duration, but portfolio of evidence? Management Standard audit? phase? larger or multi-site consultancies A: will require more time. A: A: A: Contact Heather Scales at Redfin As mentioned above it would be There is no “off the shelf” solution Redfin are more than happy on 0207 060 0242 or heather. useful if much of the standard to this question. Consultancies to provide assistance and and ask Q: list of information is available adopt different approaches, answer questions or queries for a quotation. A quote will be When will we know the outcome? at the start of the audit. The though in our experience, it during the preparation phase. provided based on the size of auditor will also search and is more effective if someone You can contact Heather the consultancy (by turnover A: ask for the information during owns the project to achieve the Scales on 0207 060 0242 or and number of office sites) and The auditor will write up the the audit however, bearing in Standard and drive it through. at ask you for an indication of report shortly after the audit, mind the question template, it Some consultancies appoint any time and she will provide timescales. Please note that lead and advise the outcome of the would be useful to have to hand “section champions” to take assistance. Alternatively, you times can sometimes be between audit within 5 days. information that you feel may specific sections and review the can opt for a pre-assessment/ 4-6 weeks. be relevant to the audit. For question template to look at how gap analysis. clients/accounts, the auditor the consultancy meets the CMS Q: will sit with the account team criteria. Others have business Q: What is a typical audit and view documents/electronicQ improvement initiatives and How much will it cost? programme for the day? information as necessary. teams looking at this, or organise an away day to brainstorm it. A A: A: lot of what is required will already Redfin and PRCA have agreed You will be contacted prior to the be happening, but may not be as a scale of charges depending audit and a schedule for the day evident or formalised as it might on the size of the consultancy. and timescale for the visit agreed. be, so the task is often not as All quoted prices are subject to Your Redfin auditor will agree daunting as it first appears. VAT at the prevailing rate, but detail of the audit programme in the opening meeting.32 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES 33
  18. 18. Frequently Asked Questions continued Q: How detailed is the financial Q: Who needs to be involved? “t is more I section of the audit? effective if A: A: Senior management, people someone owns The Redfin auditor is both with specific responsibilities for the project trained in the requirements of certain sections (e.g. Financial, CMS and has good experience HR, New Business etc.) and to achieve of working in PR Agencies. They those people involved in the the Standard are expected to ask questions management of the client and review the evidence accounts selected. Other people and drive it presented with a degree of may well be interviewed during through...” financial competency. However the audit but it is unlikely that all the auditor is not necessarily a employees will be involved. fully trained accountant and is therefore expected to use their judgment to decide whether the evidence presented appears to meet the requirements. The finance section of the CMS should not be compared to the requirements of a statutory audit or due-diligence review.34 PRCA CMS FOR AGENCIES
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