London: The Institute of Consulting (IC), the professional body for consultants in the UK, is piloting a new National Register of Consultants with its members.
It hopes the register will act as a quality mark for accredited consultants and give potential clients, particularly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) who hesitate over buying consultancy services, extra confidence to do so.
"SMEs need to be more innovative, especially in the current competitive climate, and consultants have precisely the sort of specialist skills that can drive innovation", says Stella Bowdell, head of IC.
"But often small firms are nervous buyers (of consultancy) and hopefully a National Register will give them the confidence to buy in the expertise they increasingly need."
The IC had planned to unveil the register in April, and though it cannot give a go-live date yet, the register is imminent.
The launch will be supported by a re-vamp of the IC web site (www.iconsulting.org.uk) to accommodate the technical infrastructure supporting the register, and a marketing campaign, including a national road-show.
"This a great opportunity for IC and for consultants. It will make good consultancy accessible to organisations not necessarily experienced in using it. It will grow the market", Bowdell says.
Significantly, whilst the first phase of the register will be available to IC members — in effect it will be a benefit of membership — a second phase will allow non-members to register, albeit with slightly limited functionality.
The register is the most high profile of a series of initiatives the IC has underway, including:
- Jobs Board, a web-based IC recruitment service, which went live in March
- International collaboration; the IC has held a series of meetings with other national consulting bodies in recent months to develop a road map for consulting internationally
- Higher Education — IC is extending its links with UK Universities and Business Schools. A new management consulting diploma, an MBA option at Leeds Metropolitan University and jointly accredited with IC, was massively oversubscribed in its first year.
As a result of these moves Bowdell hopes to add 1200-1500 new IC members in 2012.