Con­sul­tants are a ne­ces­sity in th­ese trou­bled times

The UK’s con­sul­tancy in­dus­try has been crit­i­cal in sup­port­ing the na­tional re­sponse to the pan­demic ‘We are a job and wealth cre­at­ing in­dus­try in our own right, con­tribut­ing over £11bn to the UK econ­omy’

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business Comment - tamzen isac­s­son Tamzen Isac­s­son is the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Man­age­ment Con­sul­tan­cies As­so­ci­a­tion

The new nor­mal re­quires new ways of work­ing to de­liver on the val­ues and re­store the cer­tain­ties we en­joyed be­fore the Covid-19 pan­demic.

Fresh think­ing is ur­gently needed to com­bat the dev­as­tat­ing eco­nomic im­pact of the dis­ease and build a new fu­ture.

The best of UK ta­lent needs to be on the front line, har­ness­ing all our in­dus­try and dig­i­tal ex­per­tise, putting it to use at speed in both the pri­vate and public sec­tor. We need to think out­side the box to re­store or­der and re­shape our busi­nesses and power our na­tional eco­nomic re­cov­ery.

That is why the UK’s con­sul­tancy in­dus­try, the sec­ond big­gest in the world, sup­port­ing tens of thou­sands of jobs, has been proud to step up to the plate in this cri­sis for both public and pri­vate or­gan­i­sa­tions across the coun­try.

Dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, strength­en­ing and re­pair­ing bro­ken sup­ply chains and cut­ting costs for business sur­vival are all key pri­or­i­ties for or­gan­i­sa­tions right now and the role our in­dus­try is play­ing in re­build­ing the econ­omy is more piv­otal than ever. The pan­demic has ac­cel­er­ated the pace of dig­i­tal change across the UK dra­mat­i­cally, em­pow­er­ing firms in all sec­tors to achieve new, more ef­fi­cient ways of work­ing.

The timescales for find­ing rapid dig­i­tal so­lu­tions is now fre­quently mea­sured in hours and days, not months and years. In the fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor our in­dus­try has pro­vided crit­i­cal sup­port to help thou­sands of staff to work re­motely, helped roll out var­i­ous stim­u­lus pack­ages and pro­vided ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity and new struc­tures to en­able banks to pro­vide timely ser­vices for cus­tomers.

Since the out­break of Covid-19, gov­ern­ment de­part­ments have also faced an un­prece­dented vol­ume of work and chal­lenges, and us­ing ex­ter­nal re­sources has en­abled them to work quickly and with in­ten­sity on crit­i­cal pan­demic ini­tia­tives across the UK.

In dou­ble quick time we’ve pro­vided world class tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise and mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary ca­pa­bil­i­ties to help re­spond at speed and scale, and it has been our pri­or­ity to strengthen the UK Gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse and pro­vide value for money. From help­ing set up the world’s largest ran­domised clin­i­cal trial test­ing with Ox­ford Univer­sity, to sup­port­ing lo­cal coun­cils to de­liver Covid-19 care ser­vices and help­ing to scale up the UK’s na­tional test­ing ca­pa­bil­ity, the na­tion’s con­sul­tants have worked tire­lessly to sup­port the na­tional re­sponse and ef­fort.

Yet when it comes to con­sul­tancy some like to think that ev­ery penny of tax­pay­ers’ cash spent by the Gov­ern­ment on con­sul­tants is, in it­self some kind of lux­ury. That is not true. It is a ne­ces­sity. En­gag­ing the ex­per­tise of the con­sul­tants is a way of in­creas­ing value and makes sure gen­uine sus­tain­able re­sults are de­liv­ered faster in the ser­vices that mat­ter.

In the NHS new and quicker meth­ods of gath­er­ing and shar­ing in­for­ma­tion were de­vised and im­ple­mented UK wide to keep ahead of the virus as new ways of treat­ing pa­tients were de­vel­oped, with the help of ex­per­tise from our sec­tor.

For ex­am­ple, in Lon­don in March of this year fewer than half of med­i­cal prac­tices had the ca­pac­ity to con­duct on­line GP con­sul­ta­tions.

But draw­ing on the ex­per­tise from our sec­tor meant that within seven weeks of the out­break of the pan­demic, 94pc of prac­tices in the cap­i­tal had the nec­es­sary ca­pac­ity to do on­line and video con­sul­ta­tions, tak­ing an enor­mous amount of pres­sure off the sys­tem and en­sur­ing thou­sands more pa­tients got the treat­ment they needed and de­served.

Our in­dus­try is proud to work for tens of thou­sands of clients across the UK, many of whom pro­mote the re­sults we have de­liv­ered through our an­nual MCA awards. For ev­ery NHS, Net­work Rail, po­lice force or High­ways Agency we have worked with in the public sec­tor, there is a South­ern Wa­ter, Star­ling Bank, BT Group, As­traZeneca or Stan­dard Life that we have helped to achieve their goals in the pri­vate sec­tor. Last year the growth of our in­dus­try out­paced that of the over­all UK econ­omy and our sec­tor con­tin­ues to be a ma­jor provider of jobs and eco­nomic pro­duc­tiv­ity across all re­gions in the UK.

The man­age­ment con­sul­tancy sec­tor has adapted faster than many other in­dus­tries and em­braced dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion years ago. But in this cri­sis, we have had to adapt too. De­spite the travel and lock­down re­stric­tions con­sul­tants have worked through­out the pe­riod sup­port­ing clients and de­liv­er­ing es­sen­tial work. Video con­fer­enc­ing tech­nol­ogy has evolved along­side dig­i­tal tools such as col­lab­o­ra­tion plat­forms, which un­der­pin th­ese new ways of work­ing. Lo­ca­tion is no longer a re­stric­tion in build­ing teams and for­tu­nately clients now have a larger pool of con­sul­tants from around the UK to re­cruit.

Trans­fer­able skills and adapt­able ex­pe­ri­ence are at the heart of man­age­ment con­sul­tancy.

We may be a ser­vice in­dus­try, but ev­ery pound spent is an in­vest­ment. We are a job and wealth cre­at­ing in­dus­try in our own right, con­tribut­ing over £11bn to the UK econ­omy.

We pro­vide ex­per­tise that many com­pa­nies do not have in-house, but that ben­e­fits their bot­tom line.

If you ever thought that man­age­ment con­sul­tancy ser­vices were sim­ply “nice to have” the Covid-19 cri­sis has shown how they are es­sen­tial, a “must have” if or­gan­i­sa­tions are to achieve their goals quickly and ef­fec­tively. There is not a sec­tor in the econ­omy that does not need the ben­e­fits and the breadth of ex­pe­ri­ence and ta­lent that con­sul­tants can bring.

Con­sul­tancy has adapted and con­tin­ues to adapt to an ever evolv­ing “new nor­mal”. Now we need to help turn that new nor­mal into a “new pros­per­ity” across the econ­omy and so­ci­ety and if any­one can, we can.

Ex­per­tise from con­sul­tants helped GP prac­tices quickly adapt to con­duct­ing on­line and video con­sul­ta­tions

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