Communications audit and framework guide


We were asked to carry out a comprehensive audit of Castle Vale Community Housing’s [CVCH] communications after high-level qualitative research by the housing association showed tenants and residents wanted to be more informed and better connected.  

Results also revealed there was confusion among customers and some staff as to the structure of the organisation as the relatively new parent company name of The Pioneer Group was used alongside the historic Castle Vale Community Housing moniker.

With a new TPAS resident engagement strategy being implemented and greater emphasis from the Housing Ombudsman, Regulator of Social Housing and government for the sector to communicate and engage better with customers, it was the perfect time to re-examine CVCH’s work.

We also helped recruit a Communications Manager as the vacant position had proved difficult to fill.

After reviewing all its communications, a detailed step-by-step best practice framework guide was created allowing the new Communications Manager to start delivering the work immediately upon appointment.

Duncan was extremely helpful in supporting us to develop a more strategic and focussed approach to developing our communications plan.

The Comms Audit 360° process

Using our Comms Audit 360⁰ process we analysed all aspects of the organisation’s communications from content planning, internal operating systems and key messaging to identifying target audience groups, tone of voice and measurement benchmarking.






To get to know the organisation and its challenges, we held face-to-face meetings with the chief executive, directors, senior management and attended a tenant-led scrutiny panel meeting to learn all perspectives.

We examined historic and current marcomms materials and worked closely with the communications officer to review the operating procedures of the communications team and how information was supplied to it by the rest of the organisation.

Using our Comms Audit 360° process, a methodical, step-by-step approach was taken with a timetable given to CVCH so it could see our work being carried out and the associated milestones.

It was delivered in priority order so quick improvements such as a communications forward plan and an updated social media strategy could be implemented immediately.

A key aspect of the review considered the organisation’s name and identity.

This focused predominantly on the interconnected relationship between The Pioneer Group and CVCH reflecting on how each was perceived internally among staff and externally by tenants, residents and stakeholders.

Financial analysis identified how time and money could be saved from managing a smaller number of brands.

We presented CVCH’s Executive Management Team with four alternatives clearly stating the benefits and disadvantages for each while taking into account legal, governance and resource implications [staff, time and budgets].

Comms Audit 360⁰ also saw us analyse the use of communications-related subscriptions with recommendations based on actual need, reducing duplication and value for money.

Presentations and workshops were delivered to EMT and SMT covering social media and crisis communications.

Detailed research was carried out into CVCH’s vacant Communications Manager post, looking at previous job descriptions, the market as a whole and identifying the best way to reach potential candidates.

We also sat on the recruitment panel, helped set questions, reviewed applications and attended interviews ahead of making an appointment.

Communications Framework Guide

A highly detailed 50-page framework report was written to operate as a reference point and ongoing practical guide.

This serves as an overarching, comprehensive plan that knits together all aspects of CVCH’s marcomms providing consistency and a strategy that is tenant focused.

It included:

Strategy linked to the Corporate Plan

Communications and media protocol

Reputation management protocol

Target audience groups

Key messaging

Tone of voice

Content planning and delivery

Social media policy and procedure

Naming, identity and branding

Brand guidelines document

Documents controlled

Website analysis

Measurement and evaluation benchmarks

Account management [systems, efficiencies, filing, review of subscriptions]

Efficiency savings: time and financial

Duncan was extremely helpful in supporting us to develop a more strategic and focussed approach to developing our communications plan.

He took the time to get to know us and developed a strong grasp of our organisational values and our priorities.

Duncan worked methodically and systematically, providing regular updates to ensure the project was keeping on track.

The end result has proven invaluable in creating a solid framework for our newly installed team to now take forward our refreshed communications approach.

Kate Foley Housing and Customer Services Director, Castle Vale Community Housing