Demonstrating that consulting staff are properly trained and accredited could be a key factor in the future for SMEs winning more government contracts as they try to differentiate themselves from other firms
That is the view of the government’s chief commercial officer Gareth Rhys Williams, who also stressed that the government is trying to ensure more business goes to smaller firms as we emerge from the pandemic.
He was addressing a meeting of SMEs who are members of the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) and are encouraging staff to become chartered management consultants.
Across the board, the government is trying to increase the number of contracts it awards to SMEs. Currently, 27% of all goods and services are awarded to SMEs and the government now spends £4bn a year more with SMEs than it did in 2017, according to its own figures.
Only 10% of management consultancy contracts currently go to SMEs. In recent times that figure has fluctuated between 9% and 12% and cabinet officials believe that the latest figures may show a depression in numbers in the last 18 months due to the effects of Covid.
They are, however, confident that with a higher proportion of SMEs on MCF3, the new consulting framework, the number of contracts awarded to SMEs should rise, helped also by forthcoming changes in procurement rules that will level the playing field for small businesses.
However, while the maths suggests that should be the case, SMEs will still need something which differentiates them and shows that their services are as good, if not better, than their competitors. Government buyers may be prepared to look further afield when surveying their options and the Chartered Management Consultant Award (ChMC) may make more SMEs worthy of catching their eye.
Mr. Rhys Williams added: “We are looking for any tool we can use that helps distinguish companies one from another and that helps demonstrate competence and the ability to do a good job. In that context, the chartered badge is a very positive one. It adds kudos. I think it is something that will help SMEs.”
The government’s positive view of chartered management consultants perfectly reflects the views of managers and staff within the consultancy profession itself, who see it as becoming key to the future of the UK’s growing management consultancy sector.
The Management Consultancy Association’s latest survey of its members has shown how important these professionals believe ChMC is to their profession, less than a year since its official launch. More than 75% of leaders said that the development of chartered status is important or very important to the industry’s future.
One in five consultants say they are receiving more skills and training than ever before and one in three want the amount of skills and training on offer to grow. In this period of growth, consultants are demanding the transformation in personal development and professional recognition – things which becoming chartered delivers.
At a time when in recruitment talent is at a premium like never before, chartered status is increasingly seen as marking out the most talented firms and those that offer it denote themselves as committed to their staff’s development.