jueves, 20 de noviembre de 2003

Hedra es una empresa líder de servicios profesionales UK, especializada en servicios de consultoría y gestión en el sector público. Su crecimiento ha sido espectacular, doblando sus ingresos (de £10.2 million en el 2000 a £21.2 million en 2001).
Aquí tenéis su decálogo de consejos para la consultoría en el sector público


Tip 1. Demonstrate independence from suppliers and other potentially conflicting partners. The responsibility for spending public money wisely is a dominant influence on public servants. Consultants working on the ‘client-side’ of a government project need to assure their client that they have no vested interest in the purchase decision or the business that results.

Tip 2. Provide value for money without necessarily being the cheapest. Achieving value for money has fundamental importance to the public services, where their expenditure is always open to scrutiny, sometimes painfully, by Parliament. However, it isn’t just about saving money – the Government looks to invest its expenditure wisely and reap significant benefits.

Tip 3. Offer services that are overtly focused on helping to achieve Government pledges (e.g. 2005 targets, e-GIF compliance, etc). Managing the machinery of government through the civil and wider public service is driven forwards by service-wide initiatives. Departments of state and their agencies have no freedom of choice in picking up and running with these initiatives. They bring an addition to the existing workload faced by departments and often require new skills. Consultants can bring the required skills and resource to deliver Government initiatives in line with agreed timescales.

Tip 4. Demonstrate your understanding of public sector issues to gain client acceptance and trust. Every industry has its particular approaches, issues, culture and language – the public services are no different. To win work in the public services, you have to become familiar with this landscape and its people. You stand out a mile if you speak another language. If you do, gaining acceptance will prove very difficult.

Tip 5. Commit to supporting projects and programmes through to implementation. The days when consultants just wrote reports and others implemented their recommendations have passed in large degree. Change occurs too fast for that style of working to apply any longer. Consultants that can demonstrate they have the practical experience and competences to convert their thinking into actions not only win the first piece of business, they win the second piece too.

Tip 6. Show that your understanding of public sector issues is complemented by private sector knowledge and experience. The private sector is often seen as flexible, dynamic and possessing more modern ways of working which the public sector should adopt. Good commercial consultants understand that the pressure on private sector organisations to be progressive is immense – it’s called survival! – so there is a measure of accuracy in this. For the public services, the Government of the day seeks to generate the same level of pressure for progress through its initiatives, and consultants can play a valuable role in adapting commercial methods to public service organisations. The key word is adapting, not adopting, and real skill in understanding what makes different organisations the way they are is essential for consultants.

Tip 7. Deploy consultants with backgrounds in industry and commerce that are well placed to advise on supplier procurement/management, etc. The public services have developed over many years very rigorous processes to ensure that its expenditure is committed with fairness and results in real value. These processes form one area in which the public services are more sophisticated than the private sector, although clearly their respective needs are slightly different. This strength can be further enhanced by deploying consultants with good commercial instincts to bolster the client-side in evolving its processes and in joining robust negotiations with would-be suppliers. This is quite a different prospect from the same consultants working with a client under the impression that the public sector needs to use the same approaches as any commercial purchaser.

Tip 8. Emphasise the importance of delivery. The public services are managed by demanding people working to busy schedules and facing complex challenges. They are also often seasoned buyers of consultancy services, capable of discriminating quickly if a consultant or a team is not ‘delivering’. Too often, larger consultancies treat the public services more as a public convenience, where consultants are assigned when the going gets tough in their commercial marketplaces. This approach generally fails, which is good for firms that are dedicated to the public service arena, like HEDRA. Our approach has always stressed the high level of understanding and commitment required to really deliver to clients across the public services.

Tip 9. Demonstrate scalability to prove your flexibility and customer-facing approach. Much work with public service organisations cannot really be estimated accurately before some foundation or scoping work has been done. As a result, the scope of a project can vary at short notice. Successful consultancies show their customer focus by putting their clients’ needs well ahead of their own resource scheduling needs, and do whatever it takes to make their contribution to meeting their clients needs.

Tip 10. You are definitely only as good as your last project. This may be often repeated, but it is also deadly accurate. Often managers and staff in the public services progress their careers by moving to other parts of their own or an associated organisation to widen their experience. This career process means that wide networks exist which provide a rich source of advice when buying consultants – as well as a good collective memory of the good, bad and indifferent. The tip here is to make sure of your future success by being ‘good’ everywhere you and your firm work today. This is very hard to achieve, but if it were easy, everybody would be a consultant helping the public services!