The decision follows a Best Value review at the authority, which was awarded 'excellent' in the Audit Commission's Comprehensive Performance Assessment report.
The report, which was released late last year, found that while there are 'many areas where good and effective practice has been identified', there were areas that could be improved.
It specifically referred to co-operation between directorates and the need to adopt a more corporate approach - unifying as much of the communications function as possible in one department.
Initially the review proposed to Sunderland's cabinet that rather than undertaking a major reorganisation, communications should be brought under a single coordinating framework, identifying specific officers within directorates.
It also proposed a slight raise in the budget allocated to communications.
Since then, however, the council has decided to bring in DTW to conduct its own audit. DTW, which was selected following a three-way pitch, has now begun its review and expects to complete it by the end of May.
Sunderland's comms team is currently publicising a new system dubbed 'People First', which delivers local services through information kiosks throughout the city. Around six kiosks are being set up which allow residents to access the council, police and medical services. The first has already been opened.
Another major challenge facing the council's media team, which is headed by media and communications team leader John Lavis, is to publicise the pilot scheme for the 1 May local elections, which, for the first time, will be carried out completely by postal vote. Like many other local authorities, Sunderland will not be setting up polling booths this year.