London: Buyers of consulting services in the UK will soon be able to take away some of the risk associated with hiring a consultant by turning to the new National Consultants' Register launched today by the Institute of Consulting (IC).
Companies can freely access the register and search a database of hundreds of qualified and fully vetted consultants who are members of the Institute of Consulting.
Most consultants on the register have between 10-20 years' consultancy and industry experience and many will have achieved the IC's Certified Management Consultant (CMC) accreditation, the highest professional qualification available for consultants. 300 consultants have already signed up.
Stella Bowdell, head of the IC, says the register will be marketed energetically to consultants and buyers over the next few months, and ultimately she expects most of the IC's 5,500 members to use the service.
Bowdell says that the register will be opened up to non-IC members in the next few months, who will be able to load a limited profile on to it.
The IC says the register will make it easier for companies to recruit professional consultants at affordable rates and for the consultants on the register to find work. The IC hopes that it will solve some of the consultancy procurement challenges faced by many organisations.
The IC recently conducted research amongst 350 consultant members and nine out of ten consultants admitted their clients had been let down by consultants who had over promised, lacked the right skills and charged too much. The research also revealed that many businesses don't know how to find consultants they can trust at affordable prices.
Huw Hilditch-Roberts, Director in Charge of the IC says, "The National Consultants' Register will take the hard work out of consultancy procurement. The IC understands that many businesses may have had bad experiences with consultants over promising and under delivering in the past — the register will be a big step forward in improving consultancy procurement.
"Recent reports and indications show that the consulting market has recovered to pre-recession levels. We are now offering a new route for businesses to recruit credible, professional consultants who offer genuine value for money. We are also providing independent consultants with another avenue to find assignments, which is much needed in the current business climate."
Bowdell says the register has received a "great reception" from consulting buyers who have had access ahead of the launch.
"Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and larger companies, really like the look-and-feel of the register. They like its clarity and ease of use, and they have been able to find out who they need to know about the consultants they are interested in, such as their experience and track record, and their qualifications, which seem to be increasingly important", she says.
"Feedback (from the buyers) so far has been excellent. They really like the fact that they can browse without commitment. The register is easy, transparent, and for SME's especially, it is safe"
Bowdell argues that the register is of particular significance to SMEs, because that community often has least experience of buying consulting, is most nervous of doing so, and yet has most to gain from it, in terms of innovation and acquiring specialist skills.
Delroy Beverley, a director at Incommunities Group, a regular buyer of consulting services, says, "The IC's National Consultants' Register is a groundbreaking development for users of consultancy. It means innovative companies like Incommunities have unparalleled access to competent, qualified consultants who can make a significant impact on businesses. It takes away not just the hassle and time, but the risk involved in recruiting the right people."