Consultants from IBM, PwC, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, EY, KPMG, PPL, Arcadis, Mott MacDonald, Atkins and Gobeyond Partners have become the first in the UK to receive a Chartered Management Consultant Award. The new accreditation sees the Management Consultancies Association collaborate with the Chartered Management Institute to standardise the quality offered by the UK consulting sector.
Around 200,000 people in the professional services sector are active as consultants, and are either employed at a consultancy or working as a freelancer, serving clients across a wide variety of industries and/or functional areas. Nearly a third of the 200,000 of the UK’s management consulting and digital advisory specialists were found to be freelancers. Unlike the law or accounting professions, however, consulting does not have a protected status.
While this offers a flexibility that can provide a large diversity of talent and specialist knowledge, the situation also means that quality in the field is less well-regulated than other professions; something which has become an increasing concern for clients trying to differentiate between players in the crowded marketplace. As a result, in 2017, the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) set plans in motion that were designed to allow management consultants the chance to earn chartered status.
The new professional accreditation, aimed at raising the professional standards in UK’s consulting industry, has since been developed and launched in collaboration with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Now, three years after the launch of the Chartered Management Consultant Award (ChMC) was first announced, a pilot group of management consultants from across 10 firms have been granted Chartered status and presented with their certificates at a ceremony in London.
The project’s first key milestone sees 11 individual consultants achieve Chartered status after a robust independent assessment process. The successful candidates work for a diverse range of leading consulting firms, which have been involved in building and shaping the ChMC award with the CMI and MCA. They will be followed by a second wave of the pilot, before the award is fully launched in late 2020, and will be open to all firms and individuals interested in obtaining Chartered status.
Ann Francke OBE, Chief Executive of the CMI, remarked, “The launch of the Chartered Management Consultant Award heralds a new era for management consultants wanting to attain professional recognition of their leadership qualities… Practitioners earning Chartered status will benefit from showing that they’re at the top of their profession, putting them in pole position in their organisations. CMI is especially pleased to see the first wave of recipients of the ChMC and we congratulate them on achieving this mark of excellence.”
Tamzen Isacsson, Chief Executive of the MCA, added, “Our members are proud of the high standards of professional development and achievement of their people and we are pleased that for the first time this is being recognised… We have made great progress in the pilot stages of developing this award and over 1500 candidates from 10 firms are starting on the route to Chartered this month. Ultimately, our aim is to secure greater recognition for the professionalism of management consulting and ensure that it is valued and respected by the industry, as well as by clients seeking professional and qualified consulting support.”
The Chartered Management Consultant Award is underpinned by the Management Consulting Competency Framework. This gives individual consultants the opportunity to benchmark their development and capabilities against an independent professional standard. All 10 firms have also worked towards securing professional accreditation for their firms’ in-house consultancy training programmes against the Management Consulting Competency Framework. This accreditation provides additional confidence that their in-house training is rigorous and has been benchmarked against an independent professional standard.
Commenting on the award, Gary Mitchell of Atkins Management Consultants – who was part of the first cohort to go through the programme – said, “For clients’ knowing that a Chartered consultant has met a benchmark of excellence helps showcase the value of their investment and contributes positively to the building of a strong relationship.”
Zoe Bennion, Associate, Business Transformation, Arcadis and is currently hoping to become Chartered later this year, added, “To continue to deliver exceptional value, we need exceptional talent that are inspired by the potential to grow and develop, and who can offer our clients and our industry outstanding quality and professionalism. The opportunity the Chartered Award has brought has acted as a catalyst to evolve our learning programme into an inspiring growth and development journey that is aligned to the competency framework. Chartered award is a positive differentiator.”