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What CMS Accreditation Means for FleishmanHillard

Faith Howe

FleishmanHillard UK was recently awarded their Gold Communications Management Standard (CMS) Award after 17 years of sustained excellence in public relations and communications. To celebrate the achievement, we sat down with Faith Howe, Director, Senior Partner and Head of Talent Development UK, to find out what the achievement means to FleishmanHillard, how they found the entire process, and what advice they’d give to other organisations considering applying for CMS.

Seventeen consecutive years of CMS accreditation is an exceptional achievement. What does it mean to FleishmanHillard to reach this milestone?

As an agency, we’re constantly focused on setting and maintaining the highest possible standards of operational excellence. We’re extremely proud of our track record of CMS accreditation which reflects this commitment and has also enabled us to regularly consider the areas where we need to update and improve throughout changing times.

How did the team find the audit process?

The audit process is extremely collaborative. Our PRCA assessor, Carol Magill, guided us through the steps and was available to advise us on the right proof points to provide.  

Any tips or advice for teams about to be audited?

Make sure that you know the evidence that you will provide for each section, and exactly where to find it. This makes the process very straightforward on the day. Preparation in advance avoids a last minute panic to get examples together.

How does FleishmanHillard stand out in a crowded competitive market? What distinguishes your offering?

We stated an audacious ambition three years ago to be the most diverse and inclusive agency in the UK. We are on that journey and have already delivered some amazing change, but we have so much further to go and will never stop. This ambition means that our people, the industry and clients are in no doubt that we support diversity of thought, experience and ideas – which are all essential if we want to deliver truly transformative work for the audiences we serve. Our clients and our talent see and feel that difference and it’s why we’re winning great clients, retaining and attracting great talent and winning the big awards.

What would your message be to other agencies and in-house teams considering applying for the CMS?

The CMS accreditation is not only an excellent validation of the work you’re doing to drive excellence when it comes to talent, client service, business development and commercial management, it’s an opportunity to look forward and consider all the ways in which you can continue to improve as a business to stay at the forefront of industry best practice.  The rigour of the process is a great discipline and gives confidence that there are no critical business improvements left unaddressed.